16. Chapter 16
Literature and Art
The earliest Japanese book extant is a kind of saga relating the heavenly origins of the Japanese race, the story of the creation of the Japanese Islands, and the reigns of the early rulers, interspersed with songs, some of which may date from the fourth century or even the third. It is called the Kojiki (' Record of Ancient Matters '), and it was written in 712 by Yasumaro under the auspices of the Empress Gemmyo, to fulfil the intentions of the previous Emperor Temmu (673-86), under whose reign the records of the past remained committed to the memory of a court official, Hiyeda no Are. The Kojiki has been translated by Professor B. H. Chamberlain, and published in volume x of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society oj Japan. It is composed in archaic Japanese.
In 720 the Nihongi (' Chronicles of Japan ') superseded it, but being written in Chinese, it is almost disqualified from a place in Japanese literature. It has been translated by the late Dr. W. G. Aston, and published by the Japan Society of London ; in its pages, as in the Kojiki, the chronology is open to criticism, but it is interesting to record the mention of court historiographers in 403, although their work is now lost. The Kojiki was first printed from wood blocks in 1644, and its publication brought forth a renaissance of Japanese traditions ; its pages were explained by many scholars, among whom Motoori Nobunaga devoted the forty-four volumes of his Kojikiden to its elucidation with amazing erudition. The result of his work was a revival of the pure Shinto ceremonial, eclipsed since 810 by the Ryobu Shinto ritual of Kukai, in which Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shintoism were amalgamated under the plea that the Shinto deities were transmigrations of the Buddhist divinities - an opportunistic dogma not unknown in other religions.
During the eleventh and twelfth centuries and the wars which desolated Japan in the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, literature was almost at a standstill ; a few historical works remain, the Jinkoshotoki of Kitabatake Chikafusa (1340), written to support the claims of the deposed Emperor Go-Daigo Tenno to the throne against the usurpation of the feudal chiefs, and the Taiheiki, written by Kojimahoshi in 1370, which influenced the literary style of the following generations towards simplification of syntax and copious use of Chinese idioms. Another work of the same period, the Tsurezuregusa (' Materials to Dispel Boredom'), by Kenko-Hoshi, consists of personal jottings and has been repeatedly translated. The founder of the Tokugawa house, lyeyasu, bequeathed his Chinese library to his eighth son, Daimyo of Owari, and the Japanese section to his ninth son, Daimyo of Kishu, who caused a supplement to the Nihongi to be compiled ; lyeyasu's grandson, Mitsukuni, popularly known as Mito Komon (1662-1700), collected a vast library, and under his auspices were published the largest books of Japanese history : DaiNihon-shi in 240 volumes, and the Reigi Ruiten (' Rules of Ceremonials ') in 500 volumes, with which rfiay be mentioned the large work of Rai Sanyo, Nihon Gwaishi (' History of Japan outside the Court ', 22 volumes, 1827). Large numbers of historical works on a smaller scale were published during the Tokugawa period.
Since the Meiji era the Imperial University of Tokyo has undertaken the publication of material critically edited as a foundation for a history of Japan on modern-lines.
From the earliest times Japanese poetry has been made up of alternate lines of 5 and 7 syllables. Down to the end of the Nara period (eighth century) comparatively long poems (naga-uta) were produced in this measure, with an extra seven-syllable line to mark the conclusion ; but the form which subsequently became standard was the tanka, a fiveline verse of 31 syllables, in lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7, constituting a complete poem. As an example the following well-known tanka by Minamoto Sanetomo, the second son of Yoritomo, may be quoted ; it was composed in 1219, on the morning of the day on which he was murdered :
Idete inaba 1
Nushinaki yado to
Nokiba no ume yo
Haru wo wasuruna.
The English translation given by Mr. W. N. Porter in A Hundred Verses from Old Jafan (Clarendon Press, 1909) is :
Though masterless my home appear,
When I have gone away.
Oh plum tree growing by the eaves,
Forget not to display
Thy buds in spring, I pray.
The first real anthology of Japanese poetry, the Manyoshu
''In the first line the j of inaba is elided, so that in effect there are only five syllables.
(' Collection of a Myriad Leaves '), was compiled in the eighth century, and contains over 4,000 pieces, the majority of which are tanka, though there are also a number of ' long poems '. It includes many specimens of the work of Hitomaro and Akahito, who are accounted the greatest poets of Japan. Another famous anthology, the Kokinshu (' Collection of Odes Ancient and Modern '), compiled by Tsurayuki in 905, consists entirely of tanka, and in the succeeding five centuries no fewer than twenty similar anthologies were issued by Imperial command, the best known being the Hyaku-nin-is-shu ('Single Verses by a Hundred Poets '), collected by Fujiwara Sadaiye in 1235.
In view of the limitations imposed by the shortness of the tanka, it is not surprising that Japanese poetry is suggestive rather than descriptive. But later, in the epigrams (hokku or haikai), consisting of only 17 syllables in three lines of 5, 7, 5, brevity was pushed still further and conciseness frequently verged on obscurity. Basho (1643-94) was the chief exponent of this kind of composition, a characteristic specimen of which is the following :
Professor Chamberlain gives the literal translation . as ' Having had well-bucket taken away by convolvuli - giftwater ! ' and he explains the meaning to be that the authoress, Chiyo, having gone to the well to draw water, found that convolvulus had twined itself round the rope, and, loth to disturb the blossoms, went and begged water of a neighbour. The influence exercised by the Empresses Suiko and Gemmyo upon Japanese thought is equalled only by that of Court ladies on literature, especially on poetry from the eighth century onwards. They wrote in pure Japanese without admixture of Chinese words, and to their brush we owe the Genji Monogatari, a lengthy novel reciting the adventures of Prince Genji, and giving a valuable picture of Kyoto life about 1004, written under the pseudonym of Murasaki no Shikibu. Another Court lady, Sei Shonagon, wrote in chatty, spontaneous style the Makura no Soshi (' Pillow Sketches '). Both works are of the greatest value, and considerably above the level of the fairy tales or semihistorical Monogatari which preceded them.
Although a Chinese dictionary was printed in Japan from wood-blocks in 1306, manuscript copies of other books were alone available until much later, but several of the Monogatari, the Taiheiki, Gempei Seisuiki, and other historical romances were recited by itinerant raconteurs, often blihd men affiliated to the Buddhist priesthood, who sang poetry to the accompaniment of the biwa. These recitals and the sacred Kagura pantomimes being in favour during the mediaeval wars, Buddhist authors set themselves to write libretti of a semi-historical, semi-religious character to be recited in stately performances by oije or several performers to an accompaniment of flutes and drums ; this new form of sacred dance is called No (or No Utai). Whereas in the Kagura, and in the dances called Bugaku, Gagaku, &c., the subjects were chiefly of foreign origin, the No are almost entirely based upon Japanese stories ; the performers, richly clad in brocade robes, wear masks of painted wood, of which about one hundred types are recognized, their carving ranking amongst the finest accomplishments of Japanese glyptic art.
The collection of No drama, Tokyoku Tsukai, contains 235 libretti, but of these only 150 are now taught in Kyoto, and performed in various ways by artists of five different * schools '.
No and Bugaku were occasionally performed by nobles, but during the early years of Meiji even the aristocracy deserted theirstages, and No artists had to sell their costumes and masks to buy food. Now, however, the nationalist movement has brought about a revival.
The Buddhistic pessimism and gloom of the No are relieved by comic interludes called Kyogen (' Mad Words '), entirely free from vulgarity, but otherwise comparable with the farces and sotties which accompanied in mediaeval Europe the performances of religious mystery-plays.
While the No monopolized the attention of the higher classes, the man in the street was catered for by ballad singers (Joruri) and puppet performers (Kwairaishi), the combination of which with the modified forms of Kabuki and other dances introduced by a woman, O Kuni, c. 15961600, crystallized into theatrical plays. Chikamatsu Monzayemon (1653-1724) wrote puppet plays which have earned for him the reputation of being the Shakespeare of Japan, skilful musicians like Takemoto Gidayu and others followed him from Osaka to Yedo (now Tokyo), and their works were performed by actors of both sexes, until the government interfered on the score of morality, and women parts had to be rendered by men, such as Iwai Hanshiro, who acted so skilfuUy as to earn the jealousy of women. Finally, historical plays (Jidaimono, Aragoto) and domestic drama (Wagoto, Sewamono) brought to the front generations of artists such as Sakata Tojuro and Ichikawa Danjuro (16601784), whose line endured until recent years. The military class, whose overbearing ways proved irksome to theatre proprietors, were forbidden, in i68i,at the la tier's request, to attend theatres with their swords, so that they could not frequent them at all ; the level of the performances may have become lower to suit the populace. Revolving stages and mechanical contrivances were highly developed, but during the later part of the nineteenth century, after the Emperor had witnessed a private theatrical performance (1887), European methods were introduced, without, however, drying up the dramatic wit of Japanese playwrights.
With the transfer of the shogunal administration to Yedo, the military classes, now reduced to inaction, followed the philosophers in the study of ancient Japanese literature and of Chinese ethics ; Chinese idioms were adopted to express new thoughts. Amongst Chinese scholars (Kangakusha), Fujiwara Seikwa (1560-1619) and Muro Kiuso (1653-1734) led the Confucianist followers of Chu Hi ; others, like Ito Jinsai, Ito Togai, and Ogiu Sorai, advocated the direct study of Confucius ; others still followed WangYang-Ming ; and aU wrangled with the Buddhist and the pure Japanese scholars. Hayashi Kazan (1583-1657), with 170 scholastic works, Kaibara Yekken, a teacher of ethics, and Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725), historian, archaeologist, financier, who crossexamined the Jesuit Sidotti and left numerous works, are the most prominent names of the period.
Works of fiction and historical novels abound during the Tokugawa era, and after 1608 were often copiously illustrated with colour-prints, which cause the volumes to be eagerly sought after by collectors. Popular drama and romances were devoured by the shopkeepers of Osaka and Yedo, though the writers who coveted such vulgar glory were despised by the educated and checked by the government. The main ingredients of their works are erudition, prodigal invention, lavish bloodshed, bombast and improbability. Graft the extravagances of Marlowe on the prolixity of Dumas and imagine a public that wall spend all day in feasting on the horrible and the incredible, and you will understand both the contempt of Japanese scholars for such productions and the reluctance of Europeans to rifle treasures which would shrivel in the cold light of those who judge by the tame standards of Fielding or Defoe.
Yet between abstruse Chinese or Shinto disputants like Hakuseki or'Motoori and these purveyors of marvels for the multitude, there existed some keen-witted observers whom Japanese novelists of to-day delight to honour. Among the best-known writers were Ibara Saikaku (1641-93) in Osaka ; Jisho (1675-1745) and Kiseki (1666-1716), of Kyoto, owners of the Hachimonjiya publishing house, which specialized in fiction ; Santo Kioden (1761-1816), Tanehiko, Ikku, Shunsui, and the prolific Bakin (i 767-1 848), by many accounted the greatest novelist of Japan. Saikaku and Kiseki depicted the gay life and free manners of their day in humorous and realistic sketches which are unsurpassed for graphic satire and invaluable as witnesses to the state of the Tokugawa underworld. Ikku, in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, wrote a rollicking masterpiece, Hizakurige, which has been eulogized as the * most humorous and most entertaining book in the Japanese language'. Owing to the pornographic tendencies of many of these authors (Bakin was a notable exception) their work is to a large extent unsuitable for translation into English, and indeed in some cases was suppressed in their own country.
Original work in literature was violently arrested by the Restoration of 1867 and by the simultaneous inrush of exotic ideas. Thus for about fifteen years most literary men of influence were occupied with the task of translating and explaining. Though Dutch had been the first medium through which a knowledge of medicine, astronomy, and geography was acquired, the English tongue held a predominant place. Professor Toyama, a graduate of Michigan University, and Professor (later Baron) Kikuchi, a graduate of Cambridge University, laid the foundations of Tokyo official teaching on an Anglo-American basis. As a private schoolmaster, the far-seeing pioneer, the great Fukuzawa Yukichi, having recorded in Seiyo Jijo ('Condition of Western Countries ') his frank impressions of America and Europe, began to exercise enormous influence. Indifferent to poHtical questions, he believed profoundly in the wisdom of the West. His school (the Keiogijukii), his nevropaper (the Jiji or Times), his lectures and public speeches (the last proceeding was a bold innovation for men accustomed to Tokugawa restraint) wielded the powers of Luther or Voltaire. The main trend of his teaching was utilitarian : the writers ivith whom he felt most sympathy were Hume, Buckle, Bentham, Mill, and Gibbon. The name of Marquis Okuma, the founder of the Waseda University, may be linked with that of Professor Tsubouchi, the author of an able History of EngUsh Literature, who adapted Shakespeare's Julius Caesar into Japanese in 1882, and as leader of the naturalistic school of novehsts brought out the first literary periodical, the Waseda Bungaku. Another influential teacher was Keiwu Nakamura, who translated Mill's On Liberty and Smiles's Selj-Help. The philosophy of Spencer and Darwin was entrenched in the Tokyo Imperial University, for evolution seemed exactly suited as a creed to a time of rapid growth. France, about this time, enjoyed a brief period of popularity. Tokusuke Nakai's transiation of Rousseau's Contrat Social is said to have given such impetus to the demand for democratic rights that the Imperial Rescript, which promised a Constitution within ten years, was partly ascribed to its success. Voltaire and Montesquieu found translators. Novels with a political tendency held the field. Lytton and Disraeli were draped in the kimono of a loose rendering, while Yano Fumio wrote A Model for Statesmen, choosing as his hero Epaminondas of Thebes, and reminding one of the chlamys-andtoga hero-worship of the French Revolution. The wild aspirations of those early years, whether derived from English or French sources, have long ago been pruned to the type of German statecraft. In local government, in the science of pedagogy, in Prince Ito's constitution itself, choice was finally made of German models, as being more in harmony with the oligarchic spirit and semi-divine monarchy of old Japan.
By 1885 a generation was growing up, which had attained the position not only of reading, but also of assimilating European literature. In that year Professor Tsubouchi issued his much-discussed Principles of Fiction, a manifesto as important in its way as Hugo's trumpet-call to young France in the preface to Hernani. The period of absorption had passed ; it was time to create. Moreover, a countermovement towards national ideas was setting in. The oldfashioned romance must be superseded by the novel, with the definite aim of portraying Japanese life in its essential truth. As models were recommended the works of Samba and Shunsui, realistic observers of Yedo society between 1810 and 1830, while the professor himself, to illustrate his principles, published Shosei Katagi (' Sketches of Student Jiife '), which speedily bore fruit. An association was formed of Friends of the Ink Slab (Ken-yu-sha), and a magazine appeared, the Garakuta Bunko, in which, after the manner of Paris, a literary coterie shouted its war-cry and hoisted its flag.
The leader of this school, ' Koyo ' Ozaki (1820-1904), seems to have aimed at aesthetic realism. His novels were chiefly concerned with womanhood, from The Love-confessions of Two Nuns (1899) to the unfinished Golden Hag (1905), which has been partially translated by the late Rev. Arthur Lloyd. Another member of the school, ' Bimyosai ' Yamada, whose best-known stories are Kocho (' Butterfly ') and Wakashiraga ('Grey-haired Youth '), was the first to dilute conventional ' fine writing ' with colloquial idiom.
Three authors stand by themselves in niches of unique personality. ' Roban ' Koda is an idealist of lofty imaginative power, whose books are leavened with Buddhist reflections and poetic passages. ' Futabei ' Hasegawa (i 863-1909) lived in Petrograd for many years as correspondent of the Asahi ; he was the first to imbue Japanese fiction with Russian sadness and intensity. An exceptional position is held by Surgeon-General ' Ogai ' Mori, Chief of the Medical Bureau of the Army, who brought home from four years' study in Germany a deep erthusiasm for German writers. He made translations of Heine, Goethe, and other German authors, while two original stories. The Dream and The Dancing-Girl, were inspired by memories of Germany. A tale which he wrote about the storming of Port Arthur had immense vogue. Both he and ' Roban ' were appointed by the government to serve on the Board of Literary Censors established for the purpose of encouraging healthy fiction, and of bridging the gulf which existed for some time between the harassed civil authorities and extremists of the Fleshly School.
Moral earnestness was the prevailing feature of the KateiShosetsu (' Family Novels ') which appeared at the time of the war with China (1894). New names and new reputations sprang to light. ' Rokwa ' Tokutomi took the first place with Hototogisu ('The Nightingale'), better known by the name of the heroine, Namiko, in its American version. The story ran through sixty-four editions, and owed some of its success to the report that it was partly a roman a clef.
Second in popularity may be named ' Shun-u ' Nakamura, whose successful Ichijiku ('The Fig') raises the problem of Christianity in a non-Christian community. Gloomy pessimism and black despair are seldom absent from the family novels, which, none the less, enjoyed great vogue for a time. ' Ryuro ' Hirotsu, a very prolific and realistic writer, passed from the aesthetic realism of such tales as Zangiku (' Chrysanthemums after Autumn ') to the sordid misery of The Double Suicide at Imado and The House of Kachiwa (a Japanese Maison Tellier).
To Nietzsche is assigned the credit of dominating the Naturalist group of artists, who next won public favour. His philosophy had been heard of in 1897, but obtained no hold on the Intellectuals until 1900, when Professor Rinjiro Takayama devoted himself, with Mr. Tobari, to the promulgation of Nietzschism. The result naturally took the form of confident individualism, of defiant self-assertion, which dismayed patriarchal officialdom. Prosecutions, fines, suppressions of journals followed. At the same time Russia began to gain in literary influence what she was soon to lose in political prestige. Tolstoy and Turgeniefl and Dostoieffsky had already conquered. Now came Gorky, Andrieff, Garshin, Tchekoff.
The leader of this school, 'Doppo' Kunikida (18721908), was a master of the short story. ' Katai ' Tayama, the acknowledged leader of the group, won sensational notoriety with Futon (' The Counterpane '), the confessions of a middle-aged Don Juan, and with Sei (' Life '). He is feditor of the Bunsho-Sekai.
Some of the rebellious Naturalists have been tamed by time and ofKcial pressure, others by a change of popular taste. Tired of stormy sensations, readers welcomed the Yoyu-ha School, which promised them tranquillity. Professor ' Soseki ' Natsume, who spent some years in England, and was a lecturer on English literature at the Imperial University, Tokyo, before joining the staff of the Tokyo Asahi, is the inventor and chief practitioner of the ' tranquil ' novel, first illustrated by the delightful I am a Cat (1905), which exhibited the traits and habits of a Tokyo household from the household pet's point of view, much as Riki was accustomed to sit in judgement on Anatole France's amiable M. Bergeret.
It may be remarked in passing, that the influence of Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) does not seem to have played any part in shaping the form of Japanese literature, though his lectures on art and poetry broke down many barriers which prevent one hemisphere from sharing the sensibiUties of the other, and the publication of his lectures on literature is a monument to his powers of analysis and to the devoted attention of the pupils who collected them.
It is plain from the type and trend of school after school that the Japanese of to-day is no more prudish than his forefathers. Realism, whether of Zola or Tolstoy, is congenial to the frank common sense of a nation that is yet second to none in fine delicacy. Nothing is held too common or unclean for fancy to gild with its refining art. That the novelists feel this affinity with continental writers need not hinder an English critic from laying aside his moral prejudice, which is probably more conventional than moral, and expressing admiration of art taken thus seriously.
Poetry has been as radically affected as prose by the study of Western models, but in an opposite way. Whereas the story-teller had to compress and concentrate for the purpose of presenting his matter within more artistic compass, the verse-maker strove to lengthen and elaborate a train of thought or feeling by means of linked stanzas. This, of course, is contrary to the traditions for many centuries of Japanese verse. As Lafcadio Hearn in more than one sensitive interpretation has pointed out, both the aristocratic tanka of thirty-one syllables and the agile hokku of seventeen have been polished into perfect instruments of nearly national use.
It is not for a foreigner to balance the merits of the new verse against the old. The movement dates from 1882. In that year a collection of nineteen poems, of which fifteen were translations and four original, was issued under the title of Shintaishi Sho (' New Style Poems '), by Professors Toyama, Inouye, and Yatabe. Tennyson's ' Charge of the Light Brigade ', Bloomfield's ' Soldier's Return ', Gray's ' Elegy ', and Longfellow's ' Psalm of Life ' were the bestknown gems, while an original ' Ode to the Seasons ', ' Verses to the Daibutsu of Kamakura ', and a ' War-Song ', displayed more good intention than good craftsmanship. The stanzas were in lines of five and seven syllables alternately, but in colloquial phrases without ornamentation. The choice of military and religious themes excited remark. Some years later, Dr. ' Ogai ' Mori bound together under the title of Omokage (' Fancy ' or ' Children of Imagination ') selected poems of Goethe, Heine, and Byron. He even attempted rhyme and lines of ten syllables, which were not thought effective. Native poetry of the new school may really be said to have begun in 1895, when the Imperial Literature Magazine was brought out by members of Tokyo University. In 1900 Tekkan started a monthly magazine called Venus, which lived for seven years, and formed a rallying-point for such writers as Ariake Kambare, whose literarygodwasRossetti,andKyukin,whoprofessed,allegiance to Keats. His wife, Akiko, wrote some beautiful poems, usually in the old metres, wliich won high praise.
Probably the boldest and finest innovator, whether in subject or style, is Mr. Tsuchii Bansui. By welding a fivesyllabled and seven-syllabled line into one he forged a species of alexandrine, which had a familiar rhythm to the ears of his compatriots and lent itself to the structiire of sustained narrative.
Ambitious rivals have since gone to greater lengths. Mr. Homei, for instance, wrote an epic in 360 lines on Hideyoshi, the great Taiko, and an unfinished Lady of Naruto (too closely akin to Scott's Lady of the Lake) in 3,000 lines, but by general admission Tsuchii Bansui holds the first place among poets of constructive imagination. It certainly needed a poet of much patience to complete such a faithful prose version as he published of Carlyle's Sartor Resartus. On' the other hand, by the use of Chinese words and expressions, by reviving the lost art of suggestion, and by the choice of serious subjects, a group of poets, whose 'organ' was the Hototogisu ('The Nightingale'), aimed at restoring prestige to the once famous seventeensyllabled hokku.
Such are glimpses of the forces at work on the transformation of Japanese poetry - on the one hand, hints caught and eagerly followed from whatever language the poet knew best after his own ; on the other, attempts to preserve old forms, while striking off conventional fetters. It is too early to pronounce what results and reputations will survive from the svriftly changing fashions.
In theatrical matters Japan has imported from Europe, in more or less modified forms, in adaptations, plays ranging from Shakespeare to Ibsen, and although a patriarchal censorship entrusted to the police has banned MoUere, after driving some German plays off the stage, a fair number of Western plays and of Japanese dramas in Western shape have been performed of late years by artists trained in the Western way. Japanese critics emulating Professor Tsubouchi, the first enthusiastic leader of the Europeanized stage movement, look upon their national stage as far behind that of the West, and yearn for more reform. But side by side vdth them the NaturaUst school clings with all its might to the older forms, particularly to the No. This archaic form of drama, with its ancient language, its masks, its primitive orchestra, played on a tiny platform of twentyfive feet square, represents the heritage of ages. The No repertoire was once the delight of the courtiers and of the samurai class, though the latter now and then found pleasure in mixing with the canaille in Joruri halls and in hstening to the interminable melodrama with which the European has become acquainted through endless colour-prints. It must not be supposed that the No and the older plays, Jidaimono, Sewamono, &c., are likely to die out under pressure of modernism ; on the contrary, they are strongly supported. As we write we have before us two magazines, beautifully set up and illustrated, entirely devoted to the No, and a large recent book, expensively got up, as a record of No performances and of No masks. It must also be remembered that Japanese music in the old days was confined to the accompaniment of No Utai, Joruri, and other poetical recitations. Not that music had been neglected in the administrative scheme, for there was a Bureau of Music in existence in 649 ; but musical skill, being retained merely as an adjunct to religious or semi-religious performances, soon became crystallized into a mechanical form. The koto was the only instrument played by ladies ; the biwa was the appanage of blind men ; the sho, a Chinese flute, with various flutes and drums, belonged to the No and Bugaku orchestras. Later the samisen became the geisha's instrument par excellence.
Orchestral music as understood in the West was unknown until the Meiji era, and its development was brought about by English and French teachers, soon to be superseded by German bandmasters, with but little result outside ofiicial bands. There is an Academy of Music in Tokyo, which had its origin in a Bureau for the Investigation of Msic established in 1879, and the government has been at pains to keep alive the national tradition whilst giving tuition in European music to those who desire it.
Journalism in ancient days was unknown : here and there a diarist recorded the gossip of court and town, and the tales brought by travellers from the provinces ; later, during the Yedo Shogunate, an official gazette was introduced, but of newspapers none existed until just before the Meiji era. They began in a humble fashion in 1861, as can be read in a paper by Mr. S. Sawada in the Transactions oj the Japan Society (vol. xi), and did not assume any importance for some years ; indeed one Japanese paper only, the Koko Shimbun of FukuchiGenichiro, has survived the drastic treatment meted out to opposition writers by the administration and the censor, besides the English Japan Mail, founded in 1865. The first daily paper, the Yokohama Mainichi Shimbun, appeared in 1871, followed by the Nichinichi, the Hochi, and the literary Tomiuri Shimbun. Fukuzawa Yukichi, the foundef of the Keiogijuku University, leader in politics as he was leader in education, in starting the Jiji Shimfo gave it the tone and dignity of a great European newspaper, but the Jiji was distinctly a Tokyo paper with a somewhat academic gait. To Osaka, the Manchester of Japan, belongs the honour of having given birth to the first newspaper published as a business proposition, the Osaka Asahi Shimbun, floated by Murayama Riuhei ; this paper still holds the field. Its Tokyo edition, the Tokyo Asahi, likewise leads in the capital, and both are closely followed by the Osaka Mainichi and the Jiji Shimpo. Periodicals on economics, politics, science, literature, fine arts, drama, indeed almost every conceivable subject, abound in Japan. Their circulation is fairly large, and when one considers the stupendous labour entailed in the composition of a Japanese newspaper in the vernacular, one cannot but wonder at the amazing energy and strength of purpose which has made journalism a success in Japan.
Both the political and the religious evolution of a country have a manifest influence upon its art, and one may wonder whether Japan would have developed any form of the arts but for the introduction of Buddhism. The original Shinto religion and the Confucian philosophy appealed to the reason but not to the senses ; the Taoist tales and superstitions might have brought a few subjects for painters and sculptors ; but Buddhism gave the major arts their first impetus. Frescoes in temples, shrines decorated with paintings, replaced without known transition the rough red daubs of the Chikugo tombs. Already in the sixth century, dried lacquer images, carvings in wood and metal, sculptures of heroic size vied with smaller religious figures, but some modern critics, wont to foUow fashion, have been known to ascribe a Chinese origin to those majestic primitives which the Japanese rank amongst the earliest and most treasured manifestations of their arts. The rulers of that period and of the Nara era encouraged artists and craftsmen in many ways, and were we bent on recording in detail the names alone of the best-known relics, pages would be needed where lines only are available. Let it suffice here to say that from China came a constant flow of inspiration, first purely religious, then of a secular nature. The great painter, Kose no Kanaoka, is probably better known to most Western readers through his daring landscape of the Nachi waterfall than through the Buddhistic pictures in which he excelled. Landscape painting, as well as portrait painting, had come to stay in the ninth century. Buddhistic images, whether painted or carved, were perforce subjected to the narrow lines of a canon proper to each sect, and the evolution of religious art is entirely dependent upon the rigid observance of, or the divergence from, these rules. Secular painting and sculpture, on the contrary, might have assumed a freedom from fetters fertile in novelties in an imaginative nation but for two causes : the dependence upon Chinese inspiration which caused changes in fashion as well as in administration, and the respect for order and precedence which characterizes the Japanese. Let us take, for instance, any book dealing with the arts, major or minor, pure or applied, and at almost every turn we find the Japanese critic, even in the nineteenth century, deprecating the innovations, the individual touches which pupils put in their work, or again seeing in pupils' work a lack of dignity or of strength due to the mere slavish copy of their masters. Such a criticism we hear constantly in reference to Western collections of Japanese paintings in particular : the Western buyers have secured specimens which pleased their fancy, or they have sought to grab for the price of a crust the works of old masters. In both cases the tale is almost always one of dismal failure ; the arts of the Middle Ages were at first ignored, and then, when too late in the day, bargain -hunters gave Japan a sorry insight into human nature.
Sculpture, being chiefly religious in character, except when sparingly appHed to architectural decoration, followed a downward grade in the course of centuries; whatever may be one's personal opinions of the gigantic Daibutsu of Nara, of Kamakura, or of the Ni O attributed to Unkei, they have the merit of having been in many respects inspired work, whereas in the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries Buddhistic sculpture became a mere trade comparable with the manufacture ' in series ' of plaster saints and alabaster * sculpture ' in Europe. In vain shall we seek for originality after the sixteenth century, if we except a few portraits, all but too scarce, and some of the smaller pieces of applied art, netsuke and the like, so extensively imitated since they became articles of export.
Painting has been with the Japanese the art chiefly recognized in literature ; the ancient works on sculpture or lacquer, printed before 1868, can be counted on the fingers of one hand, but those relating to painting are legion. They follow the same trend as in China, and in fact they give greater prominence, as a rule, to the so-called Chinese schools of paintings than to the purely Japanese ones.
The Chinese schools were those of the Kano family and of the Shubun-Sesshu group, figure painters and landscape artists respectively, originating in the fourteenth century ; they had been preceded by the school of Kose iio Kanoka, of Takuma, and by the purely Japanese Tosa school, this latter especially well known, because of the numberless 'pages d'album' and illuminations which proceeded from its ateliers down to a late date. Other schools followed, purely decorative in the rich treatment of subjects, like that of Koyetsu-Korin, or the flowers and birds of Sotatsu and Jakuchu. The vogue of rich decorative paintings began in the Ashikaga period, and reached its zenith in the early and middle part of the seventeenth century. During the Tokugawa period we see a decline of the old schools, and a renewal of Chinese methods by the Bunjingwa painters, side by side with the purely Naturalistic school of Maruyama Okyo, the Shijo school, and the Ukiyoye painters, whose work has chiefly reached us in the shape of colourprints. Book illustration in black and in colour was fully developed, and draughtsmen of amazing powers and enormous production came to the fore - men like Hokusai and Hiroshige, whom the West worshipped long before it knew Motonobu, Shubun, or even Ganku and Kiosai. Indeed the West was taken by surprise by the colour-prints, and ignored the real paintings until comparatively recent years ; few are the collectors who in the eighties gathered kakemono in Japan. There was Fenollosa, then acting as a government official, who led the way unfettered by any ethical scruples as to the propriety of the art adviser to the Japanese government making a personal collection ; Chiosone, an Italian engraver, whose collection is in Genoa ; Anderson, whose pictures remain in the British Museum, and some others. But how far were they successful ? Japanese critics will whisper : hardly at all. They garnered a few good pieces, many copies of varying merit, and an untold amount of rubbish with false signatures added thereto. A somewhat similar process took place in Japanese collecting of European works. But European influence began in the eighteenth century, when Dutch engravings and paintings gave Shiba Kokan and others hints of a modelled treatment of figures and ofperspective as understood in Europe; neither method found much favour except as a curiosity to be met in some prints and book illustrations. But after the Restoration, when students from Japan sat in European studios, a wave of Westernism swept the ateliers ; hitherto watercolours had been the sole medium, if one excepts lacquer, but now oil-colours took the field; the nude, which had never made any great impression on the Japanese mind, fought for recognition. Worse still, various schools of impressionists took root in Japan.
But luckily most of the modern artists have had the good sense to avoid extremes. The yearly exhibitions held at Uyeno Park show now and then interesting work in which European methods have been used in treating Japanese subjects. There is no doubt that, given the temperament of the race, the arts will incorporate only that which is assimilable in European methods, and we may look forward to a renaissance of the ' Japanese feeling ' in painting or in sculpture, expressed in novel ways or with new media. The way towards this has been paved by the Tokyo Art School with teachers such as the late Kano Hogai, Hashimoto Gaho, and Okakura Kakuzo ; Kano Natsuo, the prince of nineteenthcentury metal-workers, was once a lecturer in that school, and other specialists have given to students the best that was in them. The publication by the Kokkwa Company and by the Shimbi Shoin of masterpieces of olden arts from Japan and from China has done much to enlighten Western students, and at the same time to familiarize the Japanese themselves with the art treasures of their country. Government publications issued in 1900 and 1910 have had the same result. Indeed the Japanese government has shown an enlightened regard for fine arts and archaeology ; the official publications dealing with the forbidden city of Peking, with Corean antiquities, are works of permanent value of which any nation might be proud. They could not have been produced but for the photo-mechanical processes originated in the West, which have been improved upon and combined with purely Japanese methods for the production of masterpieces. (End)