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Title: The Gist of Japan: The Islands, Their People, and Missions

Author: R. B. Peery

Release date: March 11, 2013 [eBook #42304]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Al Haines



Fuji San.
Fuji San.

The Gist of Japan

The Islands
Their People
And Missions

By the Rev.
R. B. Peery, A.M., Ph.D.

With Illustrations

New York — Chicago — Toronto
Fleming H. Revell Company

Copyright, 1897, by
Fleming H. Revell Company

To My Wife
To whose Kindly Sympathy and Help is Largely Due
Whatever of Value there may be in these Pages
This Book is Affectionately Dedicated



Although a great deal has already been published in English concerning Japan and the Japanese people, nothing, to my knowledge, has yet been published which attempts to give a full treatment of mission work in Japan. "An American Missionary In Japan," by Dr. Gordon, is the only book I am aware of that deals exclusively with this subject; but its scope is quite different from that of the present volume. Therefore I have been led to believe that there is a place for this book.

I have written for the common people and hence have tried to give the subject a plain, popular treatment. There has been no attempt at exhaustive discussion, but great pains have been taken to make the hook reliable and accurate.

In the preparation of this little book I have consulted freely the following works in English: "Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan"; files of the "Japan Mail"; "Transactions of the {4} Osaka Conference, 1882"; Rein's "Japan"; Griffis's "Mikado's Empire"; Griffis's "Religions of Japan"; Chamberlain's "Handbook of Things Japanese"; Miss Bacon's "Japanese Girls and Women"; Dr. Lawrence's "Modern Missions in the East"; "Report of the World's Missionary Conference, London, 1888"; and reports of the various missionary societies operating in Japan. In Japanese I have consulted some native historians and moral and religious writers—especially in the preparation of the chapters on History, Morality, and Religions.

The book is sent forth with the prayer that it may be the means of begetting in the American churches a deeper interest in the work it portrays.

R. B. P.



I. The Land of Japan
II. A Brief History of the Japanese People
III. Japanese Characteristics
IV. Manners and Customs
V. Japanese Civilization
VI. Japanese Morality
VII. Religions of Japan
VIII. First Introduction Of Christianity
IX. Modern Roman and Greek Missions
X. A Brief History of Protestant Missions in Japan
XI. Qualifications for Mission Work in Japan
XII. Private Life of the Missionary
XIII. Methods of Work
XIV. Hindrances
XV. Special Problems
XVI. The Outlook



Fuji San . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece

A Bridge Scene

A Kitchen Scene


A Shinto Temple

A Buddhist Priest

A Buddhist Cemetery





The empire of Japan consists of a chain of islands lying off the east coast of Asia, and extending all the way from Kamchatka in the north to Formosa in the south. Its length is more than 1500 miles, while the width of the mainlands varies from 100 to 200 miles. The entire area, exclusive of Formosa, recently acquired, is 146,000 square miles—just about equal to that of the two Dakotas or the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. On this territory, at the beginning of the year 1893, there lived 41,089,940 souls.

The country is divided into four large islands and more than two thousand smaller ones. The larger ones are named respectively Hondo, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Yezo. Of these the first named is by far the largest and most important. This island originally had no separate name, but {10} in recent years it is very generally called Hondo. Western geographers have frequently made the mistake of applying the term "Nihon" to it; but "Nihon" is the native name for the whole empire, and not for its chief island. The capital, Tokyo, the ancient capital, Kyoto, and the commercial center, Osaka, are all situated on this island.

Kyushu is the second largest island in the group, and lies southwest of the main island. It was on this island, in the town of Nagasaki, that the Dutch lived for more than two hundred years, forming the only means of communication Japan had with the outside world.

Shikoku is next in size. It lies south of Hondo and northeast of Kyushu. Shikoku and Kyushu are separated from the main island by the Inland Sea, one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world.

The island of Yezo is in the extreme north, It has very cold winters and resembles the central part of North America somewhat in climate and productions. On this island the aborigines of Japan, called Ainu, now live.

Among the more important of the smaller groups are the Liukiu Islands, in the extreme south; the Goto Islands, in the west; and the Kuriles, in the north. Besides these there are numerous other islands of considerable size lying {11} around the coasts, and the whole Inland Sea is beautifully dotted with them.

Japan is a very mountainous country. For this reason hardly twelve per cent. of her total area is cultivated. In general the land gradually ascends on both sides as it recedes from the ocean, at first forming hills and table-lands, and then huge mountains. Thus a chain of mountains is formed in the center of the islands, extending throughout the whole length of the empire. The mountains are nearly all of volcanic origin, which accounts for their jagged appearance. There are many active volcanoes, continually sending up great clouds of smoke, and occasionally emitting streams of fire and molten lava, deluging the whole neighborhood with sulphur and ashes. One of the first sights that greets the traveler from the West as he approaches Japan is the smoke of a volcano, ever active, on Vries Island, in the entrance to Yokohama harbor. The chief volcanoes active at present are Asama, Shirane-san, Bandai-san, Aso-san, and Koma-ga-take. I shall never forget the ascent of Asama at night, in 1894. The volcano had been unusually active recently, and a large part of the crater had fallen in, completely changing its appearance. The sulphurous vapors and smoke came up so thick and fast that we dared not approach near the crater for fear of {12} suffocation. At that time we could not see down into the crater at all, but occasionally one can see the blue-red flames curling and writhing far down in the bowels of the earth like a sea of fire, a veritable gate of hell.

Of extinct volcanoes Japan boasts a large number. The mightiest of these is the peerless Fuji-san, the pride of every Japanese, the highest mountain in Japan. It is 12,365 feet high, and snow is found on its summit at all seasons. This mountain is now a huge pile of ashes, lava, and boulders—apparently harmless. As late as 1708 it was in eruption, and when I stood on its snowy summit in August, 1893, there were certain places where vapors hot enough to cook an egg came up from the ground. For aught we know, it may at any time burst forth again and devastate whole provinces.

This is a land of earthquakes. The records show that from earliest times this country has been subject to great ruin by their visitations. Whole villages and towns have been suddenly swallowed up, and huge mountains have disappeared in a day. These earthquakes are of frequent occurrence. The seismic instruments now in use throughout the empire record about three hundred and sixty-five per year—one for each day. Certain localities are much more exposed to them than others, although none is {13} entirely free from them. These disturbances are very destructive of life and property, especially injuring railways, bridges, and high buildings. They have left their mark upon the whole country. Through the effect of volcanoes and earthquakes together, the surface of Japan presents an appearance seldom seen in any other land.

The forces of nature are unusually destructive in Japan. Besides the volcanoes and earthquakes, the country is subject to occasional tidal waves, which kill thousands of people and destroy millions of dollars' worth of property. Impelled by some mighty force, the great sea rises in its bed mountain high, and, angrily breaking out of its accustomed bounds, sweeps everything before it. While I am writing this chapter (June, 1896) news has come of one of the most destructive waves known here for decades, which has just swept over the north coast of Hondo. More than 30,000 people were killed instantly, and great destruction wrought to property. So terrible is nature in her fiercer aspects!

Japan being a very narrow country, her rivers are short and small, few of them being serviceable for navigation. Ordinarily they are quiet, lazy streams, but when the heavy rains fall in the mountains, the waters sweep down like a flood, swelling these rivers to huge size and converting them into fierce, angry torrents. The {14} Tone-gawa is the longest and widest river, but its length is only 170 miles. Other important ones are the Shinano-gawa, the Kiso-gawa, and the Kitakami. A peculiar feature about these rivers is that none of them bears the same name from source to mouth, but all change their name in nearly every province.

There are few lakes of importance. The largest is Lake Biwa, near Kyoto; it is 50 miles long, and 20 wide at its widest point. Lake Inawashiro is of considerable size. Lake Chuzenji, at the foot of Nantai-zan, is unrivaled for beauty, and is hardly surpassed in any land. Hakone is also a beautiful lake, and the reflection of Fuji-san in its waters by moonlight is a sight well worth seeing. Indeed, the whole of Japan abounds in picturesque landscapes and scenic beauty. Mountain scenes rivaling those of Switzerland; clear, placid lakes, in which the image of sky and mountains blends; and smiling, fertile valleys, heavily laden with fruits and grain, make the landscape one of surpassing beauty. Few countries are more pleasing to the eye than is Japan.

The coasts are indented by many bays and inlets, affording fine harbors. The seas are very deep and often wild and stormy. The islands are favorably located for commercial enterprises, and the Japanese are by nature destined to be a {15} maritime people. As regards situation and harbors, there is a striking resemblance to England. The two countries are of nearly equal size, they both are insular powers, and are situated about equidistant from a great continent. It is safe to assume that Japan's development will be along lines somewhat similar to England's.

There is a good system of roads. The mountain roads are carefully graded; hollows are filled up and ridges cut through in such a manner as we employ only for railroads. Indeed, some of the roads are so carefully graded that ties and rails could be laid on them almost without any further modification. Many of them are as straight as the engineer's art can make them. A new road was built recently from Saga to the small seaport town of Wakatsu, and between the two towns it is as direct as a bee-line. This road crosses a river just at the junction of two streams. The fork of the river lay exactly in the path of the road; by slightly swerving to either the right or the left a bridge half the length of the present one would have sufficed, but the long, costly bridge was built rather than have the road swerve from its course even a little.

In the plains most of the roads are elevated three or four feet above the surrounding fields. They are not macadamized, but are covered with large, coarse gravel known as jari. When this {16} jari is first spread on, the roads are almost impassable, but it soon becomes beaten down and makes a good road. Unfortunately, it must be applied nearly every year.

Some of the chief highways are very old. The most famous is the Tokaido, extending from the old capital, Kyoto, the seat of the imperial court, to the city of Yedo (now called Tokyo), the seat of the shogun's government. It was over this road that the ancient daimios of the western provinces used to journey, with gorgeous pageantry and splendid retinues, to the shogun's court.

Some highways are lined on either side with tall cryptomeria and other trees, giving a delightful shade and making of them beautiful avenues. The most beautiful of these is the road approaching Nikko. This is said to be lined on both sides with rows of magnificent cedars and pines for a distance of 40 miles.

The bridges add a great deal to the peculiar beauty of the landscape. They are substantial, beautiful structures, generally built in the shape of an arch, and are of stone, bricks, or wood. The Japanese are very careful about bridges, and little streams across foot-paths, where in America one sees at best only a plank or log, are here carefully bridged. The bridge called Nihon-bashi, in Tokyo, is said to be the center of the empire, the point at which all roads converge.

A Bridge Scene.
A Bridge Scene.


Japan is a land in which the rural population largely predominates. Most of the people live in the villages and small towns. But in recent years a process similar to that going on in America has set in, and large numbers of the rural classes are drifting into the cities.

The chief city is Tokyo, with a population of 1,323,295. Being now the home of the emperor and the seat of government, it is held in much reverence by the people. In popular parlance this city is exalted on a pedestal of honor, and the people speak of "ascending to" or "descending from" it. It is really a fine city, with broad, clean streets and many splendid buildings, and has been called the "city of magnificent distances." One can travel almost a whole day and not get outside the city limits. It was formerly called Yedo, but when the emperor removed his court hither after the Restoration its name was changed to Tokyo. The term means "east capital." The city has enjoyed a marvelous growth and is to-day a vigorous, active place. It has many of the conveniences of modern Western cities, such as electric lights, water-works, tram-cars, telephones, etc.

Kyoto is the ancient capital, the place where the mikados lived in secluded splendor for so many centuries. It was the most magnificent city of old Japan, and many highly cherished {18} national memories and traditions cluster around it. The old classical Japanese, to whom the ancient régime is far superior to the present, still lingers fondly in thought round its sacred temples, shrines, and groves. When the imperial court was removed to Tokyo the name of Kyoto was changed to Saikyo, a term meaning "west capital." Western geographers frequently have been guilty of the error of calling this city "Miyako"; but that has never been the city's name, and is simply the Japanese word for "capital." Kyoto is a beautiful, prosperous city, with a population of 328,354.

Osaka is the commercial center. It is a city of manufactories, and nearly all native articles of merchandise bear the mark, "Made in Osaka." As a business center this city surpasses all others in the empire. It is centrally located, at the head of Osaka Bay, about 20 miles from the open port of Kobé. Here we find the imperial mint, with long rows of splendid buildings. The population is 494,314.

The next largest city is Nagoya, with a population of 206,742. Other prominent cities are: Hiroshima, 91,985; Okayama, 52,360; Kanagawa, 89,975; Kagoshima, 55,495, etc.

There are seven open ports in which foreigners reside at present and engage in commerce. In the order of importance they are: Tokyo, {19} population 1,323,295; Osaka, 494,314; Yokohama, 160,439; Kobé, 150,993; Nagasaki, 67,481; Hakodate, 66,333; Niigata, 50,300. Formerly Nagasaki was in the lead, but now has fallen to the fifth place. It is probable that other ports will be opened to foreign trade in the near future.


As Japan is so long a country, she has every variety of climate. In the northern provinces, and especially on the northwest coast, it is extremely cold in winter, and snow falls in such quantities as practically to stop all kinds of business. In Formosa and Liukiu there is perpetual summer. That part of Japan in which the West is most interested, and about which it knows most,—which is far the most important portion of the empire,—has a mild, damp climate, free from great extremes of either heat or cold. Each winter snow falls frequently, but it is seldom known to lie on the ground for more than a few hours at a time. Cold frosts are rare. Judged by the thermometer, the summers are no warmer than those of the Carolinas or Tennessee, but their effect upon people of the West resident here is much more trying than the summers of those places. Various reasons are assigned for this. Physicians are well aware that humidity affects {20} health for good or bad as much as temperature. In considering the healthfulness of a climate, not only is the temperature to be taken into account, but the amount of moisture in the air must also be considered. Now, in Japan there is so excessive an amount of moisture in the atmosphere that it makes the heat exceedingly depressing.

The presence of this dampness makes it very hard to keep things clean and free from rust and mold. Sewing-machines, bicycles, scissors, knives, and such things have to be watched carefully and oiled. Carpets, clothing, shoes, etc., have to be sunned well and then shut up in air-tight boxes during the summer season. Often a single night is sufficient to make a pair of shoes white with mold. Were it only on the machines and clothing that the dampness and mold settle, it would not be so bad; but we feel that this same clammy mold is going down into our very bones and marrow, gradually sapping their vigor and strength.

Besides this great excess of moisture in the atmosphere, there are other reasons why the climate is so debilitating. One of these is the lack of ozone. This element is known to be one of the greatest atmospheric purifiers, and also to have a very invigorating and stimulating effect upon mind and body. The proportion of ozone in the atmosphere of Japan is only about one {21} third as great as that in the atmosphere of most Western countries.

The proportion of electricity in the atmosphere is also thought to be much below the average. While not much is known in regard to the effect of atmospheric electricity upon the healthfulness of a country, it is generally believed by scientific and medical men that the proportion of electricity in the air has much to do with our physical well-being.

These three factors, viz., too much moisture, not enough ozone, and not enough electricity, are named as the chief causes which conduce to make the climate depressing and enervating to people from the West. We missionaries have neither the energy nor the strength to do here what we could do at home, and after a five or six years' residence, to do effective work must be permitted to recuperate in the home lands.

The rainfall is far above the average of most countries. Two thirds of the annual downpour falls during the six months from April to October. The rainy season proper begins early in June and lasts about six weeks. At this season it sometimes rains for weeks consecutively. This year (1896) during the rainy season we did not once get a sight of the sun for at least three weeks. The amount of rain varies greatly from year to year, as also in different localities.


Notwithstanding the heavy rainfall, bright, sunny days are far in excess of dark, rainy ones. Clear, balmy skies are the rule rather than the exception. There is a softness and delicacy about Japanese skies rare in America, but common in European countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea.

Japanese winds are irregular and violent, and subject to sudden changes. During three months of the year the dreaded typhoons are expected, and once or twice each year great damage is done by them. These typhoons generally blow from the southwest. They often sweep houses, forests, and everything else before them, their wake being a mass of ruins. In fair weather, on the sea-shore, there is a gentle land- and sea-breeze in summer.


Japan is blessed with a fertile soil, capable of bearing a variety of products. By centuries of the most careful fertilization and irrigation (arts in which the Japanese are adepts) the land has been brought to a very high state of cultivation. One of the peculiar things to the people of the West is the manner in which the fields are irrigated. Nearly all the land under cultivation can be freely watered at the will of the cultivator. {23} Streams and canals everywhere wind in and out through the plains and round the hills, making easy the irrigation of all arable lands.

A striking feature of the farming is the manner of terracing the sides of the hills and mountains. These are not cultivated in their natural state, as in America, but stone walls are built at regular gradations on the mountain-sides, and the soil dug down until level with the tops of the walls. Arranged in this way a mountain-side looks not unlike a huge stairway, and lends beauty to the landscape.

The land here is not divided into large farms, as is usual in the West. Most of the farms are very small. One never sees a field of ten or fifteen acres, but little plots hardly as large as our vegetable gardens. The cultivation is mostly done by hand, the women laboring in the fields with their husbands and brothers. The implements in general use are very rude. Plows are used, but they are roughly made of wood, with an iron point attached, and do poor work. Nearly all the cultivating is done with a hoe, the blade of which is almost as long as the handle, and is attached to it at an angle of less than forty-five degrees, making it an awkward thing to use. All grains are harvested and threshed by hand. The land being so fertile, the yield is large.

In enumerating the products of their country, {24} the native writers usually begin with the go-koku, or five cereals—wheat, rice, millet, beans, and sorghum. Fine crops of wheat are grown, especially in the southern provinces. Perhaps no country in the world produces better rice or a greater quantity per acre. One half of all the land under cultivation is used in the production of rice.

Green grasses are remarkably rare in Japan, and the soil does not seem to be adapted to their growth. Long plains of green meadow- and pasture-lands, so pleasing to the eye in home landscapes, are never seen. Almost the only grass in the empire is the long, coarse grass that grows on the hills and mountains.

Corn and oats are met with rarely. The cultivation of corn is now being introduced in the northern provinces, however, and will probably soon become more general. Hemp and cotton both flourish. The cotton does not grow as large or yield as bountifully as it does in our own Southern States, but a very good crop is raised each year. There is a large variety of vegetables, such as turnips, pumpkins, radishes, beets, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.

Japan produces a great variety of fruits and berries. We can have fresh fruit all the year round. Some of the more prominent are oranges, persimmons, figs, apricots, pears, peaches, {25} plums, loquats, grapes, etc. As a rule the fruit is inferior to that of the West, but the oranges, persimmons, and figs are excellent.

Until comparatively recent years apples were unknown here, but now they are being rapidly introduced and successfully cultivated. They are grown only in the northern provinces, the southern soil not being well adapted to them.

For bright, gay flowers Japan can hardly be excelled. At certain seasons the whole country resembles an immense garden. The crysanthemum is the national flower, and magnificent specimens of it are grown. The cherry blossoms are universal favorites, and when they are at their best the whole population turns out to see them. Lotus flowers are highly prized, and in our city of Saga there is an old castle moat, 200 or 300 yards wide and more than 1 mile long, filled with them, which in July and August is a sea of large red-and-white blossoms, beautiful to behold. The hills and valleys abound in wild flowers, but the natives seem to prize them less than the cultivated ones. In recent years Western flowers are being extensively cultivated, and most of them do well. Flowers that must be carefully housed and nursed in America, such as geraniums, fuchsias, etc., will grow all the year in the open in Japan. Some one only partially acquainted with Japan has said that the flowers have no {26} odor, but this is not true; they are, however, less fragrant than those of the West.

There is no country in the East so well supplied with useful timber. On the island of Yezo alone there are thirty-six varieties of useful timber-trees, including the most useful of all trees, the oak. These vast forests as yet are untouched practically, and the whole of the Hokkaido is one huge lumber-yard. The main island, Kyushu, and Shikoku are also well timbered. But the demand for building material, fire-wood, and charcoal is so great that rapid inroads are being made upon the supply of timber. Unless a more thorough system of forestry is adopted the supply will some day be exhausted. The mulberry-tree flourishes, and immense tracts of land are given to its cultivation. The fruit is not used, but the leaves are highly valuable in silk culture. Lacquer-trees also abound, from which a considerable revenue is derived.

The camphor-supply of the world is almost entirely in the hands of Japan. Magnificent camphor-trees are growing over all southern Japan, and in the newly acquired territory of Formosa there are large groves of them. The camphor industry is a lucrative one, and happy is the man who possesses a few trees. Within a few yards of my former home in Saga, on a little strip of waste land, there were four camphor-trees which sold, standing, for $2000, silver.


This account would be very incomplete without a notice of the bamboo, which grows in large quantities over all the empire. In the northern provinces it is only a small shrub; in the southern it grows to a large tree. The uses to which it is put are innumerable, and the people hardly could do without it.

The chief articles of foreign export produced in Japan are silk, tea, and rice. Silk is produced throughout the country, with the exception of the island of Yezo, but the best yielding districts are in the center and north of the main island. The Japanese cocoon seems to be equally as good as the European, but the methods of manufacturing are not yet up to the highest standard; for this reason Japanese silks are hardly as good as those of France or Italy. The annual export of silk is worth to Japan about $30,000,000.

Second only to silk in importance among exports is tea. Most of it is shipped by foreign merchants to America, Chinese and Indian teas being more popular in Europe. About 40,000,000 pounds are annually exported. The quantity consumed at home must be very great, at least equal to that sent abroad.

The foreign trade in rice is large, and is increasing continually. Japanese rice is far better than that grown in India or Burmah, and is esteemed highly in European markets. Formerly {28} the government exported the rice, as it levied taxes in rice and hence had great stores of it; but this practice has been discontinued. Native merchants are now taking up this branch of the export trade and are pushing it with vigor. The value of the export varies very much each year, in accordance with the crop produced.

Japan is not only rich and fertile, yielding the greatest variety of products, but she is also endowed with great mineral wealth. Kaempfer, in the first history of Japan given to the West, enumerates the minerals thus: sulphur, gold, silver, copper, tin, iron, coal, salt, agates, jasper, pearls, naphtha, ambergris, etc. Coal of fairly good quality is present in great quantities in many parts of the empire. Much of it is sold to the foreign steamers that call here on their way to China. The export of copper amounts to more than $5,000,000 per year. Iron, chiefly in the form of magnetic oxide, is present along the sea-coast and in the diluvium of rivers. As yet the iron resources have not been developed. Gold and silver are present in many places, but the mines have never been worked to very great advantage. Large quantities of salt are made from sea-water. Traces of petroleum are found in several localities, but not much has yet been made of it. The great mineral wealth of Japan as yet is developed only partially.



The fauna is represented generally as very meager, but this is an injustice. A large portion of the animals now found here may have been imported, but, taking Japan as we find her to-day, animals are abundant.

Horses and oxen are the beasts of burden, and are found everywhere. The horses are smaller than those of the West, and are not so gentle, though very sure-footed and hardy. An effort is now being made to improve the breed by importing American and Australian horses. Native oxen do most of the carrying and plowing. Strange to say, the oxen are gentler and more manageable than the horses. There are very few sheep, and it seems that the country is not adapted to them. Almost the only sheep I have seen here were in menageries, caged, along with lions, bears, etc. Pigs are found, but the people are not fond of their flesh, and consequently not many are raised.

Domestic animals are plentiful, such as cats, dogs, ducks, geese, chickens, etc. Many of the cats have no tails, and the people are prejudiced against cats that have tails. If one happens to be born with a tail they will probably cut it off. Turkeys are scarce.


There are many wild animals, such as bears, wild boars, deer, monkeys, tanuki, wild dogs, foxes, and hares. The people are fond of the chase, but, as large game is rare, the opportunity to indulge this taste is very limited.

Among the wild birds are found herons, cranes, ducks, geese, pheasants, pigeons, storks, falcons, hawks, ravens, woodcocks, crows, and a small bird, called uquisu, resembling the nightingale. The stork and the heron are perhaps most popular, and have been pictured in all kinds of native art. Wild geese and ducks spend the summer in Yezo and the winter in Hondo. Singing birds are rare, but not, as some have affirmed, unknown.

The seas surrounding Japan, and her numerous bays and rivers, are teeming with animal life, and for multitude and variety of edible fish are perhaps unsurpassed by any in the world. Salmon, cod, mackerel, herring, bait, tai, and other small fish are very abundant, so much so that in many places they are used as a fertilizer. From time immemorial fish have formed a prominent part of the daily diet of the people. Whales are numerous on the shores of Kyushu and the southern shores of Hondo, where they are taken by means of harping-irons or darts. Quantities of oil are extracted from them, and their flesh is much relished for food.

The foregoing account will perhaps give the {31} reader some idea of the nature, extent, climate, and products of the land of Japan. With a fertile soil, rich deposits of minerals, a genial climate, and a landscape unsurpassed, surely this is a country highly favored by Heaven. How sad to think that those to whom God has given so much know so little of Him! How one's heart bleeds to see God's beautiful handiwork all marred and stained by images and idols, and that praise which the people so justly owe Him given to gods of wood and stone! But such is the case in Japan to-day. The people know that they are indebted to some higher power for innumerable blessings, but they do not know that this power is the God whom we preach to them.




Nothing definite is known concerning the origin of the Japanese people. Some authorities think that the southern portion of Japan was first peopled by sailors and fishermen from Malay, who were drifted thither by the strong current of the Black Stream. That this has happened to shipwrecked sailors in the present time is cited in confirmation of this view.

Some of the northern islands are within sight of the mainland, and it is possible that tribes from northern Asia made their way across the narrow seas and settled there. Ethnological and philological evidence indicates that some immigrants came over from Korea, which they could easily have done, as the southern part of Korea is very near.

If these suppositions are true, two races mingled in Japan—the Malay from the south and the {33} Mongol from the west—and the Japanese people are the joint product of the two. But there is no certain information regarding these immigrations, and we cannot affirm them as historic facts.

Two of the greatest authorities on this subject, Baelz and Rein, affirm that the Japanese are of Mongol origin. Dr. Baelz supposes that there were two chief streams of immigration from northern and central Asia by way of Korea. The immigrants gradually spread eastward and northward and settled in the land, becoming the progenitors of the present inhabitants.

It is historically certain that some Chinamen and Koreans have settled in Japan and contributed toward the production of the Japanese race; both Chinese and Japanese histories contain accounts of such immigration; but it is likely that settlers were already here long before these, of whom we have historic accounts, arrived.

This problem is made more difficult by the fact that there are two separate and distinct races here—the Japanese and the Ainu. The latter do not appear to be Mongols. The Japanese call them the aborigines. When they entered Japan, and where they came from, is not known. There is very little intermixing of these two races. The Japanese have gradually forced the Ainu back to the northern island, just as the settlers in the United States have driven back the Indians. {34} Efforts are being made lately to better the condition of this race, but they do not meet with much success. The Ainu appear to have little capacity for civilization, and the race is rapidly becoming extinct.

So much for the origin of the people. We will endeavor to treat their history, very briefly, under three heads: mythology, mythological history, and reliable history.

Japanese Mythology

Although we of the West are perplexed as to the origin of the Japanese, the national records give what has been a very clear and satisfactory account of this. Hence I have included a very brief statement of this native account of the origin of the Japanese people under the head of history, although it is pure mythology.

Japanese history teaches that in the beginning all things were chaos. There was no Creator, and no First Cause of the universe. There was merely a cosmic mass. By and by the ethereal matter sublimed and formed the heavens; what remained formed the earth. From the warm mold of the earth sprang up a germ which became a self-animate being—the first of the gods. Then four other gods were generated, all sexless and self-begotten. These gods separated the {35} primordial substance into the five elements of wood, fire, metal, earth, and water, and gave to each its properties. The last of these spontaneous divine generations were a brother and a sister, named Izanagi and Izanami. Uniting in marriage, they became the parents of the various islands of Japan and of gods and goddesses innumerable. Izanami died when giving birth to the god of fire. Her divine consort afterward visits her in the lower regions to induce her to return to him. She would fain do so, but must first consult the gods of the place. Going to ask counsel of them, she does not return, and Izanagi, impatient at her tarrying, goes in search of her. He finds her a mass of putrefaction, in the midst of which the eight thunder-gods are sitting.

Disappointed in his hope, he returns to Japan and purifies himself by bathing in a stream. As he bathes new gods are born from his clothing and from each part of his body. The sun-goddess was born from his left eye, the moon-god from his right eye, and Susanoo, the last of all, was born from his nose. What a prolific breeder of gods was he!

The mythology goes on relating, tale after tale, the absurd actions of these gods residing together for several generations in Japan, the center of the universe, frequently visiting both heaven and hell, and performing all kinds of miraculous feats. {36} In native history this period is called the "period of the gods." About six generations after Izanagi and Izanami, in the direct line of descent from them, the first human emperor of Japan was born. His name was Kamu-Yamato-Ihare-Biko, posthumously called Jimmu Tenno.

Those Japanese to whose minds the problem of the origin of the outside nations ever occurred solved it in this fashion: the barbarian nations must likewise have descended from the mikado, the son of heaven, in very remote times, but have wandered off and are now far from the divine source. The Japanese, being still under the protection of their divine father, are very much nearer in the line of descent, and hence are the first race in the world.

Thus they trace their descent direct to the gods, and their emperor is to this day considered the divine father of his people. It is a pity we cannot join with them in accepting this easy solution of the difficult problem of their origin.

Mythological History

By this term I would designate that period in Japanese history in which mythology and history are so blended as to be inseparable. For almost one thousand years records purporting to be historical are so intermingled with that which is {37} purely mythological as to make it next to impossible to discriminate between them.

Japanese historians claim that the authentic history of their country dates from the time of Jimmu Tenno (600 B.C.), and the national records are unbroken from that time to the present. Most European and American historians have accepted these records as true, and yet critical scholars here feel bound to reject them. The oldest Japanese histories were not written until the eighth century A.D., and it does not seem probable that traditions handed down by word of mouth for more than a thousand years would be reliable. The records themselves are contradictory and self-refuting. Contemporary Chinese and Korean history, in which are frequent references to the "land of Wa," i.e., Japan, does not agree with the Japanese records, which bear evidence of having been written for a purpose other than a true statement of historical facts. These and other reasons have led Messrs. Aston and Chamberlain, the scholars who have studied this subject perhaps more than any others, to conclude that Japanese records prior to the date 461 A.D. are unreliable.

This period in dispute (from 600 B.C. to 461 A.D.) I have designated the period of mythological history. Even in the Japanese so-called histories the mythology for centuries is narrated along with that which claims to be genuine {38} history; the gods still mingle with men and take part in their affairs. The legends of the gods and those of the emperors are given side by side in the same book, and as much credence attaches to the one as to the other.

Orthodox Shinto scholars, while recognizing the fact of the parallelism of the mythology and the history, inconsistently reject the mythological legends of the gods while strenuously holding to those relating to the emperors. My own opinion is that most of the important events related in the records during this period had some basis in fact, but that the accounts of them are exaggerated and perverted.

Commencing with the period which native historians assign as the beginning of authentic history, the first important event we find is the accession of Jimmu Tenno to the throne (600 B.C.). But the very existence of Jimmu Tenno as an historical personage is not at all certain. The evidence adduced has never been sufficient to satisfy Western scholars, although the Japanese would consider it almost treason to disbelieve in him.

Japanese histories for this period are very meager. They consist, for the most part, of a recital of the names and ages of the mikados, with perhaps a sentence or two concerning the state of the country during their reigns.

One of the most important events noted in {39} this early period is the subjugation of Korea by the Empress Jingo. She is said to have collected a large army, and, by the help of the fishes great and small, and of favorable winds and currents, to have crossed over into Korea in small junks, and completely subjugated the country, reducing it to the position of a tributary state. The Japanese firmly believe this story, and are proud of the early success of their arms in this foreign war. Korean records justify us in assuming that Japanese influence was predominant in Korea at this time, but the story of the Empress Jingo, especially in its details, must be received with caution. She is perhaps an historical personage, but whether she invaded Korea or not is doubtful.

The next event of importance in the records is the introduction of Chinese art, science, and learning, which took place in the early centuries of the Christian era, and exerted an incalculable influence upon the people of Japan. Learning, religion, philosophy, literature, laws, ethics, medicine, art—all were brought over bodily. From this time forward the Japanese were largely students and imitators of China. Korea was the medium through which these continental influences were transmitted. With the introduction of learning and literature historical records began to be kept over all Japan, and oral tradition was no longer relied upon. From this time the authentic history of Japan begins.


Reliable History

Chamberlain, Aston, and others agree that the first trustworthy date in Japanese history is 461 A.D., and that for the succeeding century too much confidence must not be placed in details. This disproves the pretty stories told by the Japanese, and by many Western writers as well, as to the great age of this nation, and its unbroken line of emperors extending at least as far back as 600 B.C.; but it is not the first time that pretty theories have been rudely broken up by an investigation of facts. The imperial line is probably as old as that of the popes, but hardly older. Japan, in fact and in authentic history, is younger than Christianity. Her existence as a state began about the time of the fall of the Roman empire.

With the year 461 historical events and personages appear, and, in the main, we may accept the history from this time forward as accurate.

About the middle of the sixth century began one of the most important processes in Japanese history—the conversion of the nation to Buddhism. For some centuries previous Chinese learning and arts had been gradually filtering into Japan; but they had not as yet gained general acceptance. The Buddhist priests brought Chinese civilization, and in the course of two {41} centuries it spread over the country, influencing morality, politics, and everything. Sweeping changes were made in the government, which was then organized on the Chinese centralized plan. Arts, sciences, and literature flourished. This was the golden age of classical Japan.

In the year 670 A.D. the great Fujiwara family came upon the stage. The mikados were in theory absolute rulers, but eventually they became mere figureheads. Their mode of life was not such as to make of them able rulers. Surrounded by an effeminate court, living in indolence and debauchery amid priests and court women, they were hardly competent to direct affairs. The emperor was often a mere child, who, when he grew up, either abdicated freely or was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of another child as weak as himself. The government was administered by the most powerful vassals. The great Fujiwara family held the affairs of state in its own hands from 670 to 1050 A.D.: all the important posts were filled by its sons, while its daughters were married to the imbecile emperors.

The next important event in Japanese history is the rise of feudalism. The warlike samurai classes, disgusted with this weak petticoat government, arose in arms and overthrew it. The great clans of Taira and Minamoto appeared and alternately held the reins of government for nearly {42} two centuries. Lawlessness and disorder prevailed. The leader who could command the most men and win the victory with his sword was master of the empire. All Japan became a military camp, the chieftains waging war against one another. Thus feudalism took its rise and prevailed for many centuries, powerfully affecting every form of thought and life, just as it did in Europe at a similar period.

The Taira family was finally overthrown by the Minamotos, and the chief of the latter clan, Yoritomo, was raised to the supreme power. This man was the first to obtain from the imperial court in Kyoto the title of "shogun"—generally spoken of in the West as "tycoon." From this time forward (1190-1867) the shogun was the real ruler of Japan. The mikado was still the theoretical head of the state, descendant of the sun-goddess, and fountain of all honor, but he lived in the retirement and seclusion of his court, never seen by his subjects, and all matters of government were attended to by the shogun. Yoritomo's descendants gradually degenerated, and were finally overthrown by the Ashikaga family.

This powerful clan took charge of the government in 1338 and held it until 1565. It encouraged literature and the arts, and the court became a center of elegance and refinement. Especially {43} did the intricate tea ceremonies flourish at this time. This family became weak and effeminate finally, like its predecessors, and was overthrown.

Japan was first discovered by Europeans probably in 1542, when the Portuguese adventurer Mendez Pinto landed on her coasts. He brought the first definite information concerning her received in Europe, and his reports were so highly exaggerated that he was spoken of everywhere as "mendacious Pinto." Soon after his visit numbers of Portuguese adventurers came, who were received warmly by the impressible people. With them came the Jesuits and the introduction of Christianity. The growth of Christianity, and the bloody persecutions it encountered, begin from this time. These interesting subjects will be treated in another chapter and hence are passed over here.

During this period lived successively three of the greatest men in Japanese history—Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Iyeyasu. On these men devolved the tasks of breaking the power of the feudal lords and bringing them into more complete subjection to the shogun; of unifying the empire and of strengthening the central government. The plan was conceived by Nobunaga, begun by Hideyoshi, and completed by Iyeyasu. The former was the friend and patron of the Christians, the two latter their bitter persecutors.


After the rulers had succeeded in stamping out Christianity the country was closed to foreign influence, and for two hundred years remained hermetically sealed. Even shipwrecked foreign sailors found on her coasts were executed, and no Japanese was permitted to leave the country on pain of death. The only communication with the outside world reserved was through the Hollanders, a small band of whom were permitted to reside at Nagasaki. Through them various arts and sciences, including medicine, were introduced.

This calm seclusion was rudely broken in upon by the coming of Commodore Perry, in 1853-54, with his big guns. He came to establish treaties of commerce and trade, and to secure better treatment for American ships and sailors—peaceably if possible, forcibly if necessary. Here it is needful, in the interests of truth, to disprove another pretty story, to the effect that Perry and his crew were very pious, godly men, and that they secured the concessions desired by peaceable methods—by praying and singing psalms. The fact is that the concessions gained were forced from Japan by intimidation, by threats, and by a show of strength. Commodore Perry also used the same tactics in Liukiu. He effected his purpose, it is true, without using his guns, except for intimidation, but it is safe to say that he would not have accomplished it without them.


The treaties then forced from the government were humiliating to Japan; for example, granting exterritoriality, by virtue of which foreigners should live under their own consuls and in no sense be amenable to the laws of the land. Such concessions are demanded by civilized states of the uncivilized only, and their very existence implies inferiority. But nothing else was possible at that time, nor did Japan object.

The coming of Perry, and his forced opening of the country, marked the birth of new Japan, so different from the old, and the beginning of an era of unprecedented prosperity. The Japanese now recognize this, and speak of Perry as one of their greatest benefactors.

During the years immediately preceding this there was a great revival of learning. A school of literati arose, which zealously studied the antiquities of its own country as opposed to the imported Chinese classics. A revival of Shinto sprang up, and with it grew again that great reverence and esteem for the ancient imperial line, the divine mikados, as against the upstart shoguns. In this way began the movement which ended in the revolution of 1868 and the overthrow of the shogunate.

When Perry came the shogun's government was already tottering to its fall, and when this government made treaties with foreign countries, {46} admitting the "barbarians" to this "land of the gods," a loud cry arose against it over all the land. Finally the imperial court at Kyoto, prompted by the mighty daimios of Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa, decided upon the abolition of the shogunate. The shogun himself submitted to the decree of the mikado, but many of his followers did not. The War of the Revolution ensued, and after much fighting the imperial troops were victorious; the shogunate was forever abolished, and the emperor once more took personal charge of the government.

The literary party had triumphed. Buddhism was largely supplanted by Shinto; the shogunate, which had admitted the foreigners, was abolished; and the literati fondly supposed that the court would now expel the intruders, abolish the treaties, again shut up the country, and affairs would go on as in the "good old times." But they were deceived. The mighty lords of Tosa, Satsuma, and Choshu now declared in favor of foreign intercourse and the adoption of European civilization. These princes were too powerful not to be heard. Their advice was heeded; the foreigners were welcomed, the country was opened more and more, old abuses were corrected, and the Europeanization of Japan was begun.

The reformation was ably assisted from the very quarter where we would expect to find it {47} most bitterly opposed. The young and able emperor Mutsuhito, coming out of the obscurity which had enshrouded his ancestors for ages, and putting aside the traditions of centuries, ably seconded the efforts of his ministers in every reform. The unparalleled progress during his long and enlightened reign is due in no small part to his wisdom and prudence. He has shown himself a liberal, enlightened monarch, and I am sure that I express the sentiment of every friend of Japan in saying, Long live his Majesty Mutsuhito!

The reformation of the country, the assimilation of Western civilization and institutions, and the gradual opening and development of the empire have gone on uninterruptedly since the restoration of the emperor to the supreme power.

In 1871 the daimiates were abolished and the old daimios retired to private life. Thus feudalism was at last broken up and the central government strengthened. In this same year the postal and telegraph systems were introduced and a mint was established.

In 1889 the constitution was promulgated, whereby the people were given a voice in the government, and Japan became a constitutional monarchy, very much like Prussia or other European states. In this year local self-government was also established. In accordance with the constitution, the first Diet was opened in 1890. {48} This highest legislative body in Japan resembles somewhat, in its organization and functions, the German Reichstag.

One of the greatest recent events in Japanese history is the successful revision of the treaties. After the Restoration and the adoption of Western institutions and civilization, efforts were continually being made to have these treaties revised on a basis more favorable to Japan; but these efforts were always defeated. Thus Japan was for many years forced to submit to treaties made long ago, which were good enough then, but are outgrown entirely now. No recognition whatever was made of her great progress during these thirty years, and the foreign powers still treated her as an inferior. This was unjust, and the people naturally chafed under it. Finally, by the wisdom and perseverance of the present Japanese statesmen, treaty revision has been secured on the basis of equality. By this revision she regains the concessions forced from her in former years. After the year 1900 all foreigners residing in Japan will become amenable to her laws; exterritoriality will be abolished; power to levy taxes upon imports within prescribed limits will be regained; and Japan will be recognized as an equal by the great powers of the West. In return for these concessions on the part of foreign powers, she gives liberty of residence and travel {49} in any part of the empire, and all privileges generally accorded aliens in Western nations, except the right of ownership of land. We rejoice with Japan that justice has at last been accorded her, and that the treaties have been satisfactorily revised.

A sketch of Japanese history would be incomplete without some mention of the recent war with China. This war was especially interesting because it afforded the first opportunity Japan has had of trying her strength with her new arms. For years she has been to school to the Western nations; now she goes out to put into practice the lessons she has learned. Her fine army and navy, constructed after the most approved Western models, are tested for the first time. The results are such as to more than satisfy Japan with her new equipment. The story of her splendid success against a nation outnumbering her ten to one is familiar to all and need not be recounted.

The war was a positive gain to Japan in many ways. Aside from the material gain in indemnity and the extension of her territory, it gave her an opportunity to demonstrate to the world the substantial progress she has made. Nothing else would have gained for her so much respect from Western powers as her prowess exhibited in this war. A demonstration of force and of ability to fight great battles is still regarded as a mark of progress and civilization.


The war also helped to settle many troublesome internal questions. Some feared the people would be so elated by their phenomenal success that their pride and arrogance would be unendurable. But it was not so. The Japanese expected to win from the beginning, and were not surprised at the result. After the war was over they settled down to the even tenor of their ways as though nothing had happened. They have shown themselves as able to bear victory as to win it.

Such is an all too brief account of the history of this interesting people. An acquaintance with the main facts of this history I thought necessary to enable American Christians rightly to appreciate the work of their missionaries in their efforts to plant the church in Japan.




It is next to impossible for an alien to judge accurately the characteristics of a people. That a foreigner's interpretation of a nation's character, and of the moral influences that direct and mold its life, is apt to be imperfect and erroneous is now a recognized truth. An Englishman cannot understand a Frenchman, nor a Frenchman an Englishman. Even people so closely related as the English and Americans, with a common ancestry, common history and traditions, a common speech, common laws, and a common faith, find great difficulty in properly understanding one another. The American essayist Emerson did not venture to write "English Traits" until he had visited England, mingled freely with the people, and familiarized himself with the manifold phases of English character; and Bryce's excellent work on "The American Commonwealth," in {52} which American characteristics are reflected more truly than they have been by any other English writer, did not see the light until its author had made frequent visits to the United States and had carefully studied his subject for seventeen years.

If it is so hard to understand a kindred people, how much harder it is to understand a people so alien as the Japanese! Here the religion, language, manners and customs, and moral ideas are so different from our own that the task of portraying the real characteristics of the race becomes a colossal one. It should be attempted only by men who have had years of practical experience with the people, who can read their language and look at things from their standpoint, and who bring to their task a loving sympathy with the people whose life they would portray.

But nothing is more common than to meet with sweeping judgments on Japanese character by persons utterly incompetent to make them. Men who have perhaps never seen Japan sit in judgment upon her with a gusto unequaled. Globe-trotters, spending at most only a few weeks here, and necessarily learning nothing of the inner life of the people, have made most sweeping statements concerning the traits of national character, such as: "The Japanese are a nation of liars;" "They are mere imitators, originating nothing;" "They are fickle and quite {53} unreliable;" "Licentiousness is the most prominent trait in the national character," etc. Now it is unnecessary to say that judgments formed in this way are worthless. Here, if anywhere, it behooves one to write only after careful study and observation, and even then to speak with caution.

Physically the Japanese are inferior to the races of the West. They are shorter of stature and lighter of weight than Europeans or Americans. The upper part of their bodies is developed perhaps as fully as our own; but the lower limbs have been so cramped by sitting on the floor for centuries that they are shorter and weaker. Their habits of life and their vegetable diet have combined to make of them a physically weak people. They age earlier than the races of the Occident.

In color they do not differ much from the American Indians or the half-breeds of the South. There are two types of facial expression: the old samurai or noble classes have a long, narrow face, sharp nose, high, narrow forehead, and oblique eyes; the lower classes have fat, round, pudding faces, with broad mouths and flat noses. These two types are distinguished readily on the streets, and rank can be judged by them.

The Japanese are a cheerful race. The cares of life seem lightly to weigh upon them. On the surface they appear always smiling and happy. {54} They are very fond of gay scenes and bright colors. Politeness is a national characteristic. Etiquette has been carried to such an extent as to have largely degenerated into empty forms.

Mentally they are bright and intelligent, receiving and apprehending instruction readily. The students are equally as diligent and earnest as are those in the academies and colleges of America, though physically they are not so able to endure prolonged study. They have great thirst for knowledge, and study for the sake of learning itself; hence the various devices for evading study so common in the schools at home are almost unknown. The intensity of this thirst for knowledge on the part of the young is remarkable. Hundreds of young men over all Japan are struggling for an education against very great odds. Many are now educated abroad, and these take their stand in our best colleges and universities along with the brightest of our own students. When their course is completed they are able to carry on all kinds of learned scientific investigations independently of their teachers. Witness what they have done in seismology, botany, and medicine. These facts indicate that the Japanese are an intellectual race.

In order rightly to appreciate the national character we must remember that the idea of personality is developed here only partially. {55} This is strikingly evident in the structure of the language, which consists of nouns and verbs almost exclusively. Distinctions of person and number are generally ignored, and true pronouns are entirely wanting. From ancient times men have been considered, not as individuals, but en masse. The family has been exalted above the individual, who is hardly considered to have an existence apart from it. Thus, in ancient times, as among Occidental races also, if one member of a family came under the censure of the government, all were censured. When one member was put to death, all were executed. As the family, and not the individual, was the unit with which the laws dealt, the family became the subject of prime consideration. To perpetuate the family line came to be considered a very essential thing, and in order thereto the system of concubinage was introduced. It is proper to state that in regard to this exaltation of the family over the individual Japan is now in a transition period, and that the individual is becoming more and more important in the eyes of the law.

A marked characteristic of the Japanese is their strong patriotism. There is no more patriotic people on the face of the earth. It is said that the name of the emperor, whispered over the heads of an excited mob, will calm it as readily as oil poured on troubled waters. In the recent war {56} with China there were many more volunteers for active service than could be sent to the front. I have seen old men lament, with tears in their eyes, that they could no longer serve their country as soldiers, even to the death if need be. This principle of loyalty is the strongest motive power in Japan to-day. It supersedes all others. A man's duty to his family, even to his parents, is nothing when compared with his duty to his country; and Japanese history abounds in pathetic stories of men, women, and even children, who have counted all other duties as naught and have willingly sacrificed their lives for their country.

Patriotism here amounts to a passion—I had almost said a fanaticism. From earliest infancy it is instilled into the minds of the children, and there is not one of the little ones in whose heart his country has not the first place. A native writer has expressed the sentiments of every Japanese thus: "My native land! everywhere and always the first affections of my heart and the first labor of my hands shall be thine alone."

This patriotism is not always held intelligently. The masses of the people have very mistaken ideas as to what patriotism is. I meet not a few who believe that love for Japan necessitates a hatred of all other countries, and that no man can be loyal and at the same time admire and praise foreign lands. Fortunately, the class {57} whose nationalism is so unenlightened is not an influential one; otherwise patriotism itself would check the growth and development of the country. As it is, the strong nationalistic feeling serves to prevent a too indiscriminate adoption of Western institutions and to preserve the good elements of old Japan.

Respect for parents and teachers is one of the most prominent elements in the national character. The first principle of Confucian ethics, as taught in China, is reverence and obedience to parents; and although in Japan this has been subordinated to the principle of loyalty, it is still a prominent factor in the national life. The proper attitude of children toward parents, and pupils toward teachers, is not one of love, but one of absolute obedience and reverence. It is said here that true love can come only from a superior to an inferior, while the proper feeling of inferiors toward their superiors is one of reverence. This relation of superior and inferior is carried into every phase of society, and on it depends much of the family and national life. The principle of obedience is almost the only moral teaching given to the girls, and when they are grown up their moral ideas cluster round this one point. In olden times parents had absolute control over their children and could dispose of them as they saw fit, even killing them if they so desired. But now the {58} parent's control over the child is limited by law. Children are expected to yield implicit, unquestioning obedience to their parents, and Japanese children are usually more virtuous in this respect than the children of Americans.

As a result of this fundamental principle of obedience, inculcated from childhood, has grown the universal respect for authority found in Japan. Whatever the government does the common people do not question. Even petty officials are respected and obeyed in a manner surprising to us independently thinking people of the West. No matter how disagreeable and unjust an act on the part of the authorities may be, it is usually accepted meekly with the comment, "There is no help for it."

The counterpart of this reverence and unquestioning obedience to authority is a feeling of meekness and dependence. The government is depended upon for much more than is the government in the United States. It is expected to inaugurate all great commercial and industrial enterprises. Thus the building of railroads, the construction of telegraphs, and other great works have had to be executed by the government. In recent years this spirit is changing somewhat, and private corporations are beginning to inaugurate great enterprises. But in general it may be said that the national character is lacking in independence and decision.


Love of the beautiful is a prominent and highly developed Japanese trait. Their ideals of beauty differ much from Western ideals, and many things that they pronounce beautiful would not be so judged in the Occident. Most Americans at first cannot appreciate Japanese art, landscape scenery, or flowers; but a short residence here and an acquaintance with native life and scenes soon bring one to appreciate them. The esthetic faculty is much more highly developed than in America. It is possessed by all classes. The gardens of the rich are laid out with especial care, and no money or pains are spared to make them beautiful. I have seen day-laborers stand and gaze for a long time at a beautiful sunset, or go into raptures over a dwarfed cherry-bush just putting forth its tiny buds. Men who have worked in the fields all day, until they are exhausted, on their return home in the evening will stop by the wayside to pluck some beautiful shrub or flower and carry it back with them. Go into the room of a school-boy and you will almost invariably find his table brightened by a pretty bouquet of flowers. When the cherries are in bloom the whole population leaves off work and turns out to enjoy them. Japan is a beauteous land, and no people are more capable of appreciating her beauty than her own.

The Japanese are open-minded and receptive of truth, from whatever quarter it may come. Were this not true it would have been impossible {60} for her to have become what she is to-day. When Buddhism was first brought to Japan it was seen to possess elements of religious power that Shinto did not have, and the people by and by accepted it. When Confucianism was introduced its moral teachings were seen to be lofty and inspiring, and it was given a warm welcome. When Christianity first came many of the daimios took especial pains to examine into it to see if it were likely to benefit their country, with the full intention of accepting it. How many of them did accept it is told in another chapter. The present attitude of opposition is the result of prejudice, instilled in part by past experience with Christianity, and in part by the misrepresentation of its enemies; it is not the result of natural intolerance. The readiness with which Western learning of all kinds has been adopted, and the patient hearing and investigation native scholars give to all new theories of science and knowledge, clearly show that their mind is an open and receptive one. A native professor has expressed this characteristic in these words: "The Japanese as a race are open-hearted, with a mind free from prejudice and open to conviction." But that it is as receptive of prejudice and misrepresentation as of truth and knowledge is evidenced by its present attitude toward Christianity.

Many critics have pronounced the Japanese a {61} very speculative people, but it is doubtful if this is true. By nature, I think, they are more inclined to be practical than speculative. Abstract metaphysical and theological ideas have little charm for them.

But there is a large element in Japan that simulates a taste for philosophical study. Philosophy and metaphysics are regarded by them as the profoundest of all branches of learning, and in order to be thought learned they profess great interest in these studies. Not only are the highly metaphysical philosophies of the East studied, but the various systems of the West are looked into likewise. Many of the people are capable of appreciating these philosophies, too; but they do it for a purpose.

Japanese character is lacking in steadfastness and fixedness of purpose. Huge enterprises will be begun with great enthusiasm, only to be abandoned in a short while. There is not that steadfastness and fixedness which lays out far-reaching plans, extending years into the future, and which adheres to these plans until their purpose is accomplished. On the contrary, they are vacillating and changeful, as is shown by their migratory disposition. This want of steadfastness is even evinced by many ministerial candidates. It is a frequent occurrence for young men to enter the mission schools with the firm intention of {62} becoming evangelists, and, by the time their academic course is finished, to change their mind and go into some other calling. Some of those who have become evangelists are restless and vacillating, and after they have been located in one place for a few years like to be transferred to another. The "stick-to-it-iveness" of the Anglo-Saxon is largely wanting. But we must not speak too dogmatically upon this point, for the Japanese government has shown itself capable of laying out far-reaching plans, and of adhering to its original purpose until it is successfully accomplished.

Inconsistency is another trait of the Japanese mind, which often turns square about and takes positions exactly opposed to its avowed principles, realizing no inconsistency in doing so. This is well illustrated in the political life of the people. In theory the emperor, as the divine head of the nation, cannot go wrong, and whatever he does is necessarily right. It is the duty of every subject unquestioningly to obey the will of the emperor. To this all Japanese will readily agree, but in practice the people are often found arraigned against the government, which has the emperor for its head. Lines of policy which the emperor himself has mapped out and pursued for years are often bitterly opposed; and yet the people are all unconscious of this, and resent very much any insinuation that they are opposing his will.


Another evidence of inconsistency is seen in their opposition to Christianity. The usual objection that is made against our faith is that it is a Western religion, and there are thousands of people who oppose it solely on this ground. But, even while opposing the Western religion, they are daily using all kinds of Western institutions gladly. All manner of material things are received from abroad with pleasure, and are considered none the worse for their foreign origin, the line being drawn at religion.

Japanese character is largely wanting in originality. The people have originated almost nothing, having accepted nearly everything at the hands of others. In ancient times Japan had Korea for a teacher; afterward she studied under China; now she is at school to Europe and America. Her medieval civilization was accepted bodily from Asia, just as her modern is from Europe. No important inventions have been made. Even the little jinrikisha, which is the universal means of locomotion, and which, I believe, is found nowhere else except in certain Chinese ports, is said to have been first made by an American missionary for the comfort and convenience of his invalid wife. It should be said, however, that some claim the native origin of the jinrikisha, and contend that its inventor lived in Kyoto.

But while the Japanese are not originators, they {64} are excellent imitators. The ability to imitate well is a power not to be despised. This, when coupled with assimilation, is a very fruitful source of progress, as the Japan of to-day witnesses. The ease and facility with which Japan has imitated the West and assimilated her institutions, applying them to new and changed conditions, is marvelous. Given a model, the people can make anything, no matter how diminutive or complicated. Even the American dude is most successfully imitated.

The Japanese do not slavishly follow their models, but are able to change, modify, and develop them at will. Given the general idea, they can easily construct the rest. Thus in the adoption of Western institutions they have in some cases actually improved upon their models. Especially is this true of the postal and telegraph systems, which, though copied after our own, are in many respects superior. They are not blind followers of their teachers, but often start out on independent exploration and investigation. Such powers of imitation are second only to those of invention, and have made Japan what she is to-day.

Another national peculiarity is the slight value placed upon human life. The idea that the family, and not the individual, is of supreme importance, and the Buddhistic teaching that life itself is the greatest of all evils, are responsible for this. To {65} pour out one's blood upon the battle-field for one's lord has from of old been considered a privilege. Death has not that terror that it has in the West, and the people are not afraid to die. Hence suicides are of very frequent occurrence, and to take one's own life is, under certain circumstances, considered a meritorious act. Under the old régime a member of the samurai or warrior classes could not be executed like a common man, but after condemnation was left to take his own life.

About seven thousand suicides occur in Japan each year. The slightest reasons will induce a man to take his own life. Statistics show that the proportion of suicides varies with the success or failure of the rice crop. If sustenance is cheap, people live; if it is dear, they rid themselves of the burden of life. The number of suicides also varies much with the season of the year, showing that such little matters as heat and discomfort will outweigh the value put upon life.

A young girl recently came to Saga from Kagoshima as a household servant She did not like her new home, and asked her mistress to send her back to her birthplace. The mistress refused, and the next morning the poor girl was found dead in the yard, having hanged herself during the night—all, forsooth, because she could not go home. So low is the value placed upon life here! Human life is valued highly in the West {66} solely because of Christian teaching; outside of Christendom it is cheap.

It has been charged upon the Japanese that they are wanting in gratitude, or, at least, that their gratitude lasts only so long as they are looking for favors. This is but partially true. Ever since I came to Japan I have been teaching a few boys English at odd hours, and they have really embarrassed me by the number of their presents. On the other hand, I have helped young men with money at school, who were at first grateful apparently, and would come to my home to perform various small services in return, but by and by would object to doing the least service, even while living on my charity.

In past years Japan has in various capacities employed a great number of Americans and Europeans, and has usually rendered them a very adequate return for their services. In addition to the stipulated salary, she has often given them costly presents. But recently a good deal of complaint has been made by foreign employees to the effect that, after they have given the best years of their lives to the service of Japan, they have been summarily dismissed, without previous notice and without thanks.

Evidences of ingratitude are very numerous in the native church. The missionary who has left home, friends, and country for the sake of these {67} people, and who labors for them with all the powers God has given him, is often not rewarded by that gratitude and kindness on the part of his converts which he reasonably expects. Frequently he takes young men from the humbler walks of life, provides both their food and clothing, gives them six or eight years' instruction in well-equipped schools, supports them liberally as evangelists, only to have them rise up against him, oppose him in his work, and pronounce him an ignoramus. In many parts of the native church there is a strong anti-missionary spirit, and the feeling of gratitude which these churches should have for their founders, organizers, and supporters is wanting. From such facts as these we are forced to conclude that the feeling of gratitude is not very strong.

Much has been said in regard to the commercial honor and integrity of the Japanese. Our first American minister to Japan, Townsend Harris, pronounced them "the greatest liars upon the face of the earth." A foreign employee in a government school, when asked concerning the native character, replied in two words—deceit and conceit. The numerous exceptions to upright dealing in mercantile circles seem to justify these judgments. Native merchants are unreliable in such matters as punctuality, veracity, and the keeping of contracts. They will do all in their {68} power to avoid the fulfilment of a contract which would entail a loss. The artisan class is even more unreliable in these respects than are the merchants.

To offset this, it should be said that, while the people are frequently unreliable in private matters, in public affairs and in all governmental relations they are honest and fair-dealing. Public office is seldom perverted for private ends, and the national conscience would quickly call to account any official who would enrich himself at the public expense. In this respect Japan is in striking contrast with the other nations of the East, and, alas! with many of those of the West as well.

I have not endeavored to give an exhaustive statement of the national characteristics of the Japanese people, but have simply tried to give enough to help my readers to an appreciation of the native character. I have endeavored to be strictly truthful and at the same time to do justice to the race. While fully recognizing the failings of the Japanese, we must also recognize the great improvement of the national character in recent years, and must remember that they are in many respects laboring at a great disadvantage, and deserve, not hatred and contempt, but our warmest sympathy and love.




A study of the manners and customs of foreign peoples is both interesting and profitable. If we have no knowledge of the customs of other nations we are apt to think that our own customs have their ground in eternal reason, and that all customs differing from ours are necessarily false and wrong. But if we study the manners of other lands, and learn of the daily observance of customs many of which are squarely opposed to our own, and which nevertheless work well, we will be led to value our own customs at their true worth, and to realize that we have not a monopoly of all that is good, convenient, and useful.

To know the manners and customs of a country is to know much about that country. There is no truer index of the character of a people's life. Knowing these, the prevailing morality and governing laws may be very largely inferred. In fact, {70} every phase of a nation's life has so intimate a connection with the manners and customs that a study of these is exceedingly profitable.

Such a study is especially necessary to those who would gain a correct knowledge of the nature and difficulties of mission work in foreign lands. The customs of a people will have a direct bearing upon mission work among them. If Christianity violates national customs it will be condemned; if it observes them it will be tolerated. Whether it observes or violates them must depend upon the nature of the customs themselves. The success of Christianity in any country will depend, in part, upon the nature of the customs prevalent there. Therefore it is wise for us to study those of Japan, in order to a better understanding of the people and of the condition and prospects of mission work among them.

One of the most striking facts in connection with Japanese customs is that many of them are exactly opposed to those which prevail in the West. People who have been accustomed to doing certain things one way all their lives, and have come to look upon that as the only way, upon coming out here are shocked to find these very same things done in precisely the opposite way. This is so to such an extent that Japan has been called "Topsyturvydom." But to those who are acquainted with the customs of both East and {71} West it is a serious question which one is topsy-turvy. After one has become used to them, many of the customs appear just as sensible and convenient as those of America or Europe. Why this opposition, we do not know, but perhaps the fact that the Japanese are antipodal to us makes it fitting that their customs should be antipodal too. I will point out a few of the things that are so different.

The manner of making books and of writing letters is very different from that to which my readers are accustomed. An Occidental has an idea that something inherent in things necessitates that a book begin at the left side, and the thought of beginning at the other side appears to him ridiculous. But in reality it is every whit as convenient, fitting, and sensible to begin at one side as at the other; and all Japanese books begin at the side which people of the West call the end, i.e., at the right side, and read toward the left. While English books are printed across the page in lines from left to right, Japanese books are printed from right to left in columns. An Occidental generally turns the leaves of his book from the top with his left hand; an Oriental turns them from the bottom with his right hand. In Western libraries the books are placed on their ends in rows; in Japan they are laid flat down on their sides and piled up in columns. If we see several good dictionaries {72} or encyclopedias in a man's study we are apt to infer that he is a man of studious habits; the Japanese of olden times inferred just the opposite. The idea seems to have been that a scholar would already have the meaning and use of all words in his head and would not need to refer to a dictionary. A Japanese friend who came into my study one day expressed great surprise at seeing several large dictionaries there. "You have certainly had better educational advantages than I have," he said, "and yet I can get along with a very small dictionary; why cannot you?" Upon inquiry, I learned that many Japanese keep their dictionaries concealed, because they do not want it said that they must refer to them often.

The manner of addressing letters in Japan is exactly opposed to ours. Take a familiar example. We write:

        110 Gay Street,

A Japanese would write it:

                Gay Street, 110,
                        JONES, FRANK, MR.

The latter is certainly the more sensible method, because what the postmaster wants to see is not {73} the name of the man to whom the letter is addressed, but the place to which it is to go.

In matters of dress there are some customs quite opposed to our own. The American lady, especially if she goes to a ball, has her neck and arms bare, but she would be shocked at the very mention of having her feet bare. The Japanese lady puts her heaviest clothing on her arms and shoulders, but does not at all mind being seen with bare feet and ankles. Many of the ladies do not wear any foot-gear at all in the house, but these same women could hardly be induced to expose their arms and necks as Western women do.

A Western lady is very anxious to have a thin, narrow waist; her Japanese sister wants a broad one. In the West curly hair is highly prized on girls and women; in the East it is considered an abomination. If you tell a little girl here that her hair is curly, she will consider it a disgrace and will cry bitterly. The most striking difference in regard to dress, however, is in mourning dress. Whereas in the West it is always black, in Japan it is always white.

Another remarkable contrast is found in the relation of the sexes. In America the woman is given the precedence in everything. Her husband, and all other men who come within her influence, must serve and honor her. Attend an evening party and see woman in her glory. How {74} the men crowd round her, anxious to serve or entertain! When supper is announced they vie with one another for the honor of escorting her to the dining-room. She must have first seat at table and be first served, and during the progress of the meal the men must be careful to see that she has everything her sweet will desires. When supper is over the ladies precede the men to the drawing-room, and by the time the men again appear on the scene the ladies, including the hostess, are settled in the easiest chairs. When the time for departure has come it is my lady who announces to the hostess—not the host—her departure, and her husband or escort simply awaits her bidding. In Japan all of this is changed. The man takes precedence everywhere, and the woman must serve him. At meals the woman must first wait on her husband and then she herself may eat. When, guests come, the husband is the chief entertainer, and the wife takes a back seat and says little. On passing through a door, entering a train or carriage, etc., the husband always precedes his wife. When walking on the street together she does not walk by his side, but comes along behind. The men do not intend to mistreat the women; they simply take what they regard their due as the head of the family.

Among the customs most peculiar in the eyes of Westerners and most squarely opposed to their {75} own are those relating to marriage. In Japan the young man and woman have nothing whatever to do with the match-making, except to give their consent to the arrangements of their parents; and frequently even this is not asked. The wedding is arranged in some such manner as this: Whenever the parents of a young man think their son old enough to get married they secure the services of some friend, who acts as "go-between." It is the duty of this party to search out a suitable girl and win the consent of her parents to the marriage. While this is going on it is not likely that either of the young people is aware of it, but as soon as the parents have arranged matters to their own satisfaction they are informed. It often happens that the man has never seen his bride until the wedding-day. Young people seldom object to the arrangements of their parents, and marriages made in this way seem to work well.

In the West the wedding often takes place in church; in Japan the temples are studiously avoided at such times. There a minister is nearly always present; here they are very careful to exclude priests. The wedding is to be joyous, and as priests are known best as officiators at funerals, and ideas of sadness and misfortune are associated with them, they are excluded.

In the West, if the wedding does not take place in church, it will probably be held in the home of {76} the bride; in the East it is always held in the home of the groom. There the bride's household prepares the feast; here the groom's prepares it. There the groom must go to fetch his bride; here she must come to him. It makes no difference whether she lives in the same city or in a distant province; she must go to the groom, not he to her.

The poor mother-in-law is evil spoken of in the East as well as in the West; but while there it is the mother of the bride who is said to make life miserable for the groom, here it is the mother of the groom who often makes life miserable for the bride.

Customs in regard to the use of houses are quite different. In America the front rooms of a house are considered most desirable; in Japan the back rooms are preferred. There the parlors, sitting-rooms, etc., are in front, and the kitchen and store-rooms are relegated to the back; here the kitchen and store-rooms are in front, and the parlors and sitting-rooms behind. There the front yards are kept clean, but the back yards are proverbially dirty; here all sorts of dirt and trash may be lying around in the front yard, while the back yard is a perfect little garden of beauty.

Signs made with the hands are very different in Japan from those to which my readers are accustomed, and are much more graceful. Here, when we call some one to us by the hand, {77} instead of the awkward, ungainly motion of the index-finger used in the West, we simply hold out the whole hand horizontally in front of us and gently move all the fingers up and down. The latter motion is very graceful, while even a pretty girl cannot execute the former one gracefully. Here, when we refuse a request or repel one from us by a sign of the hand, instead of turning the palm of the hand outward and pushing it from the body in a rough, uncivil manner, we merely hold the hand perpendicularly before the face, palm outward, and move it back and forth a few times.

Japanese carpenters saw by pulling the saw toward them instead of pushing it from them; the planes cut in the same way; and screws are put in by turning them to the left instead of the right.

Even in the nursery we find customs directly antipodal. While the American nurse takes the child up in her arms, the Japanese nurse takes it on her back.

These are some of the customs most squarely opposed to our own. The first thought of my readers when learning of them will probably be, how ridiculous and inconvenient! And yet they are just as convenient and sensible as their own, and some of them much more so. There is nothing in the nature of things why most customs should be either this way or that.


The most interesting things about foreign peoples are those connected with their daily lives—their homes, food, and dress. Let us examine a Japanese house, take a meal with its occupants, and then observe their manner of dress.

The houses are usually very light structures, built of wood, one or two stories high. They resemble an American house but little. The roofs are made of tiles, straw, or shingles. Tiles make a pretty and durable roof, but they cost much more than straw, and hence the common people generally use the latter. The skilful Japanese workman can make a very pretty, lasting, and effective roof of straw. The houses of the rich are large and have many nice rooms in them; those of the poor are small, with only one or two rooms. Houses are so constructed as to permit the air to pass through them freely. The rooms are separated only by light, detachable partitions made of paper, and these are frequently taken away and the whole house thrown into one room. Many of the outer walls are also detachable, and on a warm summer day are put aside, when a delightful breeze constantly passes through the house. The floors are covered with thick, soft straw mats, which are kept so clean that the people, even when dressed in their best clothes, sit or loll on them. On entering a Japanese house you must leave your shoes at the door, just as you {79} do your hat. It would be an unpardonable offense to come inside and tread on the mats with your shoes on.

A Kitchen Scene.
A Kitchen Scene.

The average Japanese eats, sleeps, and lives in the same room. He has no chairs, no bedsteads, and no tables to get in his way. During the day he sits on the soft straw mats; when evening comes two large comfortables are brought, and one is spread on the floor to lie on, while the other is used for covering. No sheets are used, and the pillow is a funny little block of wood. On this simple bed the man sleeps as soundly as we in our more elaborate ones. In the morning the bed is rolled up and packed away. At meal-time little tables, four or six inches high and about sixteen inches square, are brought, and one is placed before each person. The food is served in pretty little lacquer or china bowls, and each one's portion is placed on his own table. The people eat with chopsticks about eight inches long and one fourth of an inch in diameter. These answer their purpose well, but are hard to use until one is accustomed to them. When the meal is over all these things are carried away to the kitchen, and the room is ready for any other use to which one may desire to put it. In this way one room is made to serve for all the purposes of a household.

The most conspicuous thing in a Japanese room {80} is the hibachi—a little wooden or china box about one foot square. This is kept half full of ashes, and on top of the ashes is a handful of burning charcoal. On this usually sits a little tea-kettle, filled with boiling water used in making the tea, which is drunk without milk or sugar at every hour of the day. When one first enters a Japanese house, politeness requires that the host or hostess immediately offer the guest a small cup of this tea. There is no other provision than this hibachi for heating a room; and, as one would imagine, it gives out but little heat Japanese houses are very cold in winter. They would not at all answer in a cold climate, and even here the people suffer from the cold.

Japanese food is unpalatable to most foreigners, and the eating of it is an art which must be acquired gradually. After repeated experiments we learn to like it, and can live on it fairly well; but most foreign residents usually take more or less European food with them every time they go into the interior.

From of old Buddhism forbade the eating of anything that had animal life, and hence it came about that the Japanese are probably as vegetarian in their diet as any people on earth. Even such animal food as butter and milk is not used. Butter is very unpalatable to them, but many are beginning to use a little milk. Bread, so necessary {81} to a Western table, forms no part of a Japanese bill of fare. The staple here is rice, not boiled and mashed to pieces, with milk and butter, but simply boiled in water sufficiently to cook it well without breaking the grains. When it is cooked each grain remains intact, and it is snowy white and perfectly dry. No salt or seasoning of any kind is put into it, as it is thought to spoil the flavor.

The rivers, lakes, and seas of Japan are teeming with splendid fish, which form an important part of the native diet. It seems that Buddhism, while forbidding the use of meats generally, permitted the eating of fish. Certain kinds of fish, cut into thin slices and eaten raw with a kind of sauce, are considered a great delicacy. The idea of eating raw fish seems very repugnant, but many of my readers would eat it without realizing what it is unless they were told. I often eat it. But only a few of the fish consumed are eaten raw; most are boiled or fried.

Foreign vegetables are rare, and are not much liked by the natives. But there is an abundance of native vegetables. The most common one is a large, coarse radish called daikon, which is pickled, and eaten at nearly every meal. This daikon is very cheap, and is a chief part of the diet of that small portion of the population that cannot afford rice. Sweet potatoes are abundant and cheap. {82} They are considered the poor man's food, and the well-to-do people are ashamed to eat them. Often at hotels, when I have asked for sweet potatoes, the servant has replied in astonishment, "Why, do you eat sweet potatoes? They are for coolies." A mountain-potato and the roots of the lotus and bamboo are also eaten. Since the country has been opened to foreign trade and foreigners have settled here it is possible to get meats and flour and some foreign vegetables at most places.

Japanese clothing is frequently conspicuous by its absence. Many of the people do not realize the necessity of burdening themselves with clothing on a hot summer day, and wear very little. The government has been constrained to make laws against nudity, but these are enforced only in the cities. The usual summer garment of many of the children in my city is simply the dark-brown one given them by nature. Most of the coolies wear nothing but a little loin-cloth when at work.

The real native costume is both pretty and becoming. It consists usually of a single robe reaching from the shoulders to the ankles, and tied round the waist with a heavy girdle. Tight-fitting undergarments, in foreign style, are sometimes worn now, but they form no part of the original native costume. A black outer garment, {83} reaching only to the knees, is placed over the ordinary robe on state occasions. Formerly the Japanese did not wear hats, and even now half of the men one meets on the street are bareheaded. The women wear neither hats nor bonnets.

It is not considered improper to go barefooted in Japan, but generally the better classes are shod when they go out of doors. If anything resembling a stocking is worn, it is what they call tabi, a sort of foot-glove, made of either white or black cloth, with a separate inclosure for the great toe. A block of wood called geta corresponds to our shoes. It has two cords attached to the same place in front, and then dividing, one being fastened on each side at the back. These cords slip in between the great toe and the others, and, passing over the foot, secure the geta.

Japanese bathing customs are peculiar. Perhaps there are no other people on earth that bathe as often as they. It is customary for every one, even the coolies, to bathe well the whole body every day. The baths are taken very hot—about 110°F. Each private house has a large bath-tub, which in many instances is capacious enough to accommodate the whole family at once. Besides these private baths each city and town has its public ones, where a good hot bath, in a place large enough for you to swim round, can be had for one cent. Men, women, and children go into {84} them at the same time, indiscriminately. Japan is a land of hot springs, so that almost every district has its natural hot baths. Most of them have medicinal value, and the people flock to them by thousands.

The funeral customs are very different from ours. It is a strange feature of the native character that when one is deeply moved he is very likely to cover up his emotion with a laugh. If a man announces to you the death of his child, he will probably laugh as he does so. At funerals there is not that solemn silence which we expect, but frequently loud talking and laughter. The coffin is a square, upright box with considerable ornamentation. The corpse is placed in it in a sitting posture. In Japan are found the hired mourners of whom we read in the Bible. Anciently they were employed to follow the corpse, mourning in a loud voice; but that has become obsolete, and now they simply follow in the procession, wearing the white garments. The usual manner of disposing of dead bodies is by interment, but cremation is rapidly growing in favor. The government will not permit a body to be buried until it has been dead twenty-four hours.

For several weeks after a body has been interred it is customary for the members of the bereaved family to make daily visits to the tomb and present offerings to the departed spirit in the temple. {85} Each year, on the anniversary of the death, the children are expected to visit the tomb and worship the spirit of the departed. This custom of ancestor-worship is forbidden by Christianity, and hence the people charge us with teaching disrespect to parents and ancestors.


A custom peculiar to Japan is a form of suicide known as hara-kiri, or "belly-cutting." From time immemorial, to take one's own life in this manner has been considered very honorable and has expiated all crimes and offenses. In olden times, if the life of any one of noble blood became hurtful to the state, he was simply sent a certain kind of short sword. This meant that he was to take his own life by the favorite national method. So the recipient quietly ate his last meal, bade his family farewell, and, seating himself squarely on the mat, deliberately thrust the sword into the left side of his abdomen, and drew it across to the right side. As this cut does not kill immediately, a retainer, from behind, placed there for that purpose, struck off his master's head with one blow of a heavy sword. In the eyes of the law this death atoned for all sins and offenses; hence it was often practised in old Japan. It is almost obsolete now.

The Japanese are an exceedingly polite people. They have been called the Frenchmen of the Orient in recognition of this national characteristic. Politeness is exalted above everything, above {86} even truth and honor. If you ask an ordinary Japanese which is better, to tell a falsehood or be impolite, he will at once reply, "To tell a falsehood." But while the people are exceedingly polite, a large part of this politeness is merely surface, without any meaning. Etiquette requires that you always address and treat your equals as though they were your superiors. There is a separate form of address for each step in the social scale. I have seen Japanese men stand at a door for five minutes, and blush, and beg each other to pass through first, each hesitating to precede the other. A Japanese gentleman never stops to converse with a friend, be he only a child, without taking off his hat.

To look down upon one from a superior elevation is considered very impolite. Thus if the emperor or any one of especial distinction passes through a city, all the upper stories of the houses must be vacated. Under no circumstances are any permitted to observe the procession from an upper window. I was out walking one day in our good city of Saga with a foreign friend who was leading his little boy by the hand. It happened that a countess was passing through the city. The policemen had cleared the street for the procession, and a large crowd was standing at the corner. We joined this crowd. The little boy could not see, so his father held him up that {87} he might look over the people's heads. At once the police forbade it and made him put the child down.

In many instances forms of politeness are carried to a ridiculous extreme. When you give a present, no matter how nice, you must apologize by saying that it is so cheap and insignificant that you are ashamed to lift it up to the honorable person, but if he will condescend to accept it he will make you very happy. If you receive a present you must elevate it toward the top of the head (as that is considered the most honorable part of the body) and at the same time say that it is the most beautiful thing on earth. When you are invited to a dinner the invitation will carefully state that no special preparation will be made for the occasion. At the beginning of the meal the hostess will apologize for presuming to set before you such mean, dirty food, and will declare that she has nothing whatever for you to eat, although she will doubtless have a feast fit for a king. Even if it should not be good, you must say that it is and praise it extravagantly.

The greetings between friends are sometimes right funny. I have often overheard such conversations as the following. Two men meet in the street, and, taking off their hats, bow very low, and begin as follows:

A. "I have not had the pleasure of {88} hanging myself in your honorable eyes for a long time."

B. "I was exceedingly rude the last time I saw you."

A. "No; it was surely I who was rude. Please excuse me."

B. "How is your august health?"

A. "Very good, thanks to your kind assistance."

B. "Is the august lady, your honorable wife, well?"

A. "Yes, thank you; the lazy old woman is quite well."

B. "And how are your princely children?"

A. "A thousand thanks for your kind interest. The noisy, dirty little brats are well too."

B. "I am now living on a little back street, and my house is awfully small and dirty; but if you can endure it, please honor me by a visit."

A. "I am overcome with thanks, and will early ascend to your honorable residence, and impose my uninteresting self upon your hospitality."

B. "I will now be very impolite and leave you."

A. "If that is so, excuse me. Sayonara."




The question is often asked, Are the Japanese a civilized people? The answer will entirely depend upon our definition of civilization. If civilization consists in a highly organized commercial and industrial life, in the construction and use of huge, towering piles of manufactories and commercial houses, such as are seen in New York and Chicago, in amassing enormous capital, controlling the trade of the country by monopolies, and doing the work of the world by machinery that moves with the precision of clockwork, then Japan is not yet civilized. But if civilization consists in a courteous, refined manner, in a calm enjoyment of literature and the arts, in an ability to live easily and comfortably with a due regard to all the amenities of life, then the Japanese are a civilized people.

A very brilliant writer on Japanese subjects[1] {90} has said that the Japanese have been a civilized people for at least a thousand years. Chinese civilization was brought to Japan early in the Christian era, and flourished for more than fifteen hundred years. While it differs much from European civilization, it is a highly organized and developed system, venerable with age. When people of the West speak of civilized countries they are apt to think of Europe and America, to the exclusion of all the rest of the world. This is unfair. Chinese civilization is much older than our own. Long before the dark ages of Europe the Chinese were living under a regular system of laws and were engaged in all peaceful pursuits. Systematic methods of agriculture, the art of printing, gunpowder, and the mariners' compass were all known and used. While our own forefathers in northern Europe roamed the forests as wild men and dressed in skins, the Chinese were living quietly in cities and towns, dressed in silks. This venerable Chinese civilization was readily adopted in Japan, and prevailed down to the time of the Restoration, in 1868. Since that time the adoption and assimilation of Western civilization have been progressing with a rapidity and success which have no precedent in the history of the world. The old immobile, crystallized Chinese civilization has been thrown off, and the vigorous, elastic forms of the West have been successfully {91} adopted. Japanese civilization of to-day is European, only with a national coloring.

[1] Lafcadio Hearn.

On the advice of an American missionary,[2] who was then president of the Imperial University, and who arranged the program for the expedition, in 1872 a committee of seventy intelligent Japanese gentlemen, many of them from the noble families, was sent to the West to visit the capitals of the several countries, examine into their forms of government and civilization, and, of all that they found, to choose and bring back with them what was best adapted to Japan. This committee, after visiting Washington, London, Berlin, and other places, and carefully examining into their different institutions, returned and reported to the government. From this time began the rapid adoption of Western civilization, which is still in progress.

[2] Dr. Verbeck.

Foreign employees have played an important part in this peaceful revolution. At first nearly everything that was adopted was under foreign superintendence; but the Japanese are such apt learners that they are now capable of managing this new civilization for themselves, and the foreign employees have been mostly dispensed with.

With this brief history of Japanese progress before us, let us now examine into the present condition of Japanese civilization.


One of the best indicators of the civilization of a country is its literature. No writers of world-wide fame have arisen in Japan, yet the country has a literature of which she is not ashamed. In ancient times the Chinese classics were alone studied, and all literature was molded by Confucian ideas; to-day these models have been cast aside, and a school of young, independent writers has arisen, by whom history, political and moral science, botany, sociology, belles-lettres, and numerous other subjects are discussed with vigor and originality.

In the number of newspapers and magazines published Japan can compare favorably with any country of equal size. The great dailies have not yet grown to such importance as those of America or England, but they already wield a mighty influence. Nearly every small town has its morning and its evening sheet. Even in our backward old town of Saga we have two very good dailies. There are a large number of able magazines published. Nearly every branch of learning has a magazine devoted exclusively to its interests, as is frequently the case in the West. The very existence of this innumerable multitude of newspapers and magazines shows that the Japanese are great readers.

The educational system in vogue is a good index of a nation's civilization. Perhaps no {93} nation of the West has a better organized and developed free-school system than has Japan. Schools are found in every village and hamlet, and as all children of a prescribed age are required to attend, they are full to overflowing. The little round-faced, sleek-headed Japanese children swarm round them like bees. There are four grades of schools: the primary lower, the advanced lower, the lower middle, and the higher middle. The lower schools are found everywhere; the higher ones only in the large towns and cities. Of the higher middle schools (which correspond to our American colleges of middle grade) there are seven, distributed at various points over the empire. At the head of this whole system stands the Imperial University in Tokyo, which is itself the outgrowth of several colleges, and is largely modeled after the German universities. The lower schools are modeled after our American schools. Unfortunately, so large a part of the time of the school-children must be spent in studying Chinese characters that it takes about eight years to learn to read. What a pity that the awkward, antiquated system of Chinese writing is not abandoned! It seems that the native kana, of which there are about forty-eight, with a few of the more common Chinese characters, would answer all purposes; then the long years spent in studying Chinese could be devoted to other things, to {94} the immense advantage of the student. In the lower schools very little is studied except Chinese. In the middle schools the branches studied are just about what American youths study in the academies. Formerly considerable stress was laid upon the study of modern languages, and all students of the middle schools were required to study English and either French or German. But in recent years only English has been required, and it, even, is not studied so carefully as it was. Since the revision of the treaties the study of foreign languages seems to be on the increase.

The Imperial University compares very favorably with Western universities of the middle class. It has six faculties, namely, law, medicine, literature, science, engineering, and agriculture. The medical department is under German influence; the others have professors of various nationalities, mostly English, German, and Japanese. The students number over 1000. The government has recently undertaken the establishment of another university in Kyoto. It also supports two higher normal schools, a higher commercial school, naval and military academies, fine-arts school, technical school, the nobles' school, the musical academy, and the blind and dumb school. Professor Chamberlain, of the Imperial University, says the leading idea of the Japanese government {95} in all its educational improvements is the desire to assimilate the national ways of thinking to those of European countries. In view of the difference between the East and the West, this is an enormous task; and great credit is due that brave body of educators who, fighting against fearful odds, are gradually accomplishing their purpose.

The Japanese are a nation of artists. Life in one of the most beautiful countries in the world has, to a rare degree, developed in them the love of the beautiful; and this has expressed itself in the various phases of national art. In general, Japanese art is pretty, but small, isolated, and lacking in breadth of view. Its chief use in former times was largely decorative, to paint a screen or a piece of porcelain, and the artists did this to perfection. As a nation the Japanese are very skilful with the pencil. Long writing of Chinese characters has given them a control of the pencil or crayon not commonly found among the people of the West. Drawing is taught in the schools, and every school-boy can draw pretty pictures. But in art, as in other things, the Japanese are frequently inconsistent, and show a haughty disregard of details. They excel in portraying nature.

The government of Japan is progressive and enlightened. In reality it is an absolute monarchy, ruled by the "heaven-descended mikado." {96} The empire belongs to him by divine right, and none has ever disputed this. Unquestioning, implicit obedience is the duty of all subjects. But the present emperor, who is a liberal-minded monarch, has graciously given his people a voice in the government. In 1889 the constitution was promulgated, which laid the foundation for a new order of things. It established the Diet, consisting of two houses, and gave many rights to the people, including local self-government, within certain limits. The franchise is so limited in Japan that a man must annually pay a stipulated amount of tax before he can either vote or run for office.

Japanese laws have for years been gradually approaching Western standards. The transition has been difficult and necessarily slow, but praise-worthy progress has been made. A code somewhat resembling the Code Napoleon is now the law of the land, and is being applied in the courts as fast as circumstances will permit. People coming from Europe or America will find that, in the main, the laws are not very different from those they have been accustomed to.

Nearly all the material expressions of an advanced civilization found at home are likewise met with in Japan—good railways, steamboats, telegraphs, mails, electric lights, etc. It is often a surprise to the traveler from the West who has {97} read little about the country, and who expects only the rudest form of civilization, to find instead nearly all the conveniences to which he has been accustomed.

RAILWAYS.—Japanese railways are narrow gauge, and while in recent years the question of changing them to standard gauge has been agitated, nothing definite has been done. The narrow-gauge system seems fairly adequate to the present demand. The railways are modeled after those of England, and are miniature as compared with those thundering monsters that make the American valleys tremble with their tread. The coaches are much smaller than the American and are differently arranged, opening on the side instead of the end, passage from one coach to another being precluded. There is no conductor to come around and disturb one with the continual cry of "Tickets!" The punch, punch, punch, so annoying to sensitive people, is not heard. As the passenger leaves the station to enter the train his ticket is examined, and this ends the matter until he reaches his destination, when he must pass out through the station, where his ticket is taken by a polite official. One of the things that have most impressed me about the railroad service is the kindness and politeness of the officials, in striking contrast with the gruffness and incivility one often encounters in America.


The average Japanese train has three classes of coaches. The first class corresponds to the ordinary first-class day-coach at home; second class corresponds to our smoking-cars; while third class is poorer still. The fares are just about one half what they are in America, and one can travel in first-class style for a cent and a half per mile. Third-class fare is only a little over half a cent, and most of the people travel in this class. The trains do not have the conveniences to which my readers are accustomed. There are no sleeping- and dining-cars, no provision for heating in winter, and no water. The average running speed is about 20 miles per hour—a rate which would not at all suffice for the high-tensioned, nervous, always-in-a-hurry civilization of the West, but which meets all the demands of the slower, quieter life of the East. Running at this rate, accidents are comparatively rare, and the trains easily make their scheduled time.

There is one main trunk-line running throughout the length of the land, besides numerous shorter lines. All of the more prominent towns and cities are connected by rail. At present a railroad-construction craze has seized Japan. Many are being constructed, others are being surveyed, and the papers daily contain accounts of new ones projected. So far, Japanese railway stocks have yielded good dividends. That the {99} more important lines are owned and operated by the government is not the result of any political or economic theory, but simply because at first private individuals had neither the means nor the energy to inaugurate such huge and hitherto untried enterprises. Many of the smaller roads are now owned and controlled by private corporations, and most of those in process of construction are private enterprises. Some months ago a private corporation made a proposition to the government to buy its main railway, but the offer was rejected.

STEAMERS.—Steamboat service in Japan is good. As the country is only a range of islands, the largest of which are very narrow, and as all the more important towns are on the sea-coast or only a short distance inland, it is possible to go nearly everywhere by boat. Travel by water is very popular. There are fairly good steamers plying daily between the most important ports, but foreigners generally prefer to travel only on those officered by Europeans or Americans. There are a number of native steamers, comfortable and speedy, which are officered by foreigners, and differ but little from the transpacific liners. These were nearly all built in England, but in recent years they are building very good ones in Japan. The facilities for travel in this empire leave little to be desired.

TELEGRAPHS.—The Japanese telegraph {100} system is excellent. It extends to all towns of any size in the empire, and by cable to all parts of the world. From the old city of Saga, in which I live, I can send a cablegram to any point in Europe or America. A telegraph code on the basis of the Morse code has been made in Japan, which admits of internal telegrams being transmitted in the native syllabary. In this respect the Japanese system is unique among Eastern countries. For instance, in India or China telegrams can be transmitted only in Roman letters or Arabic figures. By the formation of a vernacular code the telegraph was brought within the reach of the masses of the people, and it soon became familiar and popular.

The tariff for messages is perhaps lower than any other in the world. A message of ten kana, equaling about five English words, together with name and address of sender and receiver, can be sent to any part of the empire for eight or nine cents. Telegrams in foreign languages are sent within the empire for five sen per word, with a minimum charge of twenty-five sen for five words or a fraction thereof. No charge is made for delivery within a radius of 2-½ miles of the telegraph office.

There are no private telegraph corporations. The government builds, owns, and operates the lines just as it does the mails. The postal and {101} telegraph systems are intimately connected, and the same office does service for both.

The first telegraph line in Japan was opened in 1869. The venture proving a success, the following year the line was extended and a general telegraphic system for the whole country decided upon. The rapid construction of telegraph lines began in 1872, from which year it has gone forward uninterruptedly. At present the lines extend to every corner of the empire. The first lines were surveyed, built, and operated under foreign experts; but the natives have learned so rapidly that they have been enabled to do away with all foreign employees. All of the materials and instruments in use, with the exception of submarine cables and the most delicate electrical measuring apparatus, are made in Japan.

MAILS.—The Japanese mail system was modeled after the American in 1871. At first it was limited to postal service between the three large cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka; but in 1872 it was extended to the whole country, with the exception of a certain part of the Hokkaido, which was without roads and almost without population. To-day there is no village or hamlet in the whole land which does not enjoy the convenience of a good postal system. The mails are sent with promptness and despatch, and it requires only a few days to communicate with any part of the {102} empire. The postal rates are very low. Postal cards cost one sen and letters two sen—about five eighths and one and two eighths of a cent, respectively.

All mail is delivered free of charge. Not only is this so in the cities and larger towns, but in the villages and rural districts as well. There is no place where the dapper little postman does not go. Another convenience of the mail system is its excellent parcel-post department. Very large parcels, containing almost anything, can be sent for a small charge. Still another praiseworthy feature is that each office is a savings-bank, where the people can deposit small sums of money at any time and receive a good rate of interest. This money can be withdrawn without previous notice. The government has established these savings-banks in connection with the post-offices to encourage the people to lay up small sums of money, and they accomplish their purpose well.

Japan was admitted into the International Postal Union in 1879, with full management of all her postal affairs. As all her rates are now based on a silver standard, postage to foreign countries is much cheaper than from them to Japan. To the United States or to China we pay five sen (about two and a half cents) per letter; to all other countries within the Postal Union ten sen per letter.


LIGHTS.—The system of lighting is an index of the civilization of a country. In this respect Japan is not yet so far advanced as the leading countries of the West, yet she is well lighted. In all the large cities there are good electric plants, and electricity is extensively used. The streets and many of the best stores and shops are very well lighted with it. However, electric lights are seldom found in interior cities of less than 40,000 people. I think electricity is too costly to come into general use, except in the centers. Illuminating gas is very little used.

The only oil used in former times was extracted from whales and large fish, and chiefly from the seed of a certain tree. Since the opening of the country, kerosene has come into general use, immense quantities being imported from the United States and from Russia. Oil has been found in several places in Japan, but as yet has never been developed.

BANKING.—One of the most useful products of the introduction of our modern civilization is the present system of banking. This system will compare favorably with those of the West. There are a number of national banks distributed over all the land, together with many substantial private banking corporations. All forms of banking business are transacted, and good interest is given on deposits. The great {104} popularity of the banks is shown by the fact that to-day in Tokyo, only eight years after bank-checks have come into use, the amount annually drawn exceeds $100,000,000.

Having taken this rapid view of Japanese civilization, we are in a position to judge as to whether or not this is a civilized land; and we answer that it is. But although modeled after that of the West, it in many respects differs from Western civilization. Japan has shown herself capable of doing great things, but she does not do them in the same way that they are done in Europe or America. For example, consider her manufactories, which now threaten to compete with those of our own country. In America manufactories mean enormous capital invested. Costly factories must be erected, the most approved machinery provided, and the completed plant operated at great expense. Here almost no capital is used. The buildings are low, one-story sheds, not more costly than a row of stables at home. It is true that Japan has a few large, substantial buildings for manufacturing purposes; but such are rare, and, when found, look out of harmony with their surroundings. Even nature seems to protest against huge piles of brick and stone, as she so frequently demolishes them. Most of the wares of Japan are manufactured in small, cheap buildings, and little machinery is used. The best silk {105} made is woven in a house that cost scarcely $500. The best cloisonne, of which only a small piece a few inches high will cost hundreds of dollars, is made in a little, two-story house with only six rooms. Some of the greatest porcelain-makers in the world, whose products are better known in London and Paris than in their own country, do their work in small wooden houses in Kyoto, no better than the homes of the American laborer. "The vast rice crop is raised on millions of tiny farms; the silk crop in millions of small, poor homes; the tea crop on countless little patches of soil. Japan has become industrial without becoming essentially mechanical and artificial."[3] On this small scale the great work of Japan is done. Japanese civilization, in its parts, is miniature.

[3] Lafcadio Hearn.

When compared with the civilization of the West, it is unstable; in fact stability is almost unknown. The land itself is a land of change. The outlines of the coasts, the courses of the rivers, the form of the mountains, by the combined action of volcanoes, earthquakes, winds, and waves, are constantly changing.

The people themselves are continually drifting about from place to place, changing their residence with the seasons. It has been said that no people in the world are so migratory. {106} Preparation can be made in a few hours for the longest journey, and all the necessary baggage wrapped up in a handkerchief. Japanese life is in a constant state of fluidity.

The average house, likewise, seems built but for a day. The walls, the roof, the floors, are made of the lightest materials, and apparently there is no thought of permanence.

We of the West are wont to think that no real progress can be made without stability, but Japan has proved the contrary. A uniformly mobile race is, correspondingly, uniformly impressionable. The fluid mass of the Japanese people submits itself to the hands of its rulers as readily as the clay to the hands of the potter, and thus it moves with system and order toward great ends. It is thus that Japanese civilization is strong.

When compared with Western civilization, that of Japan is seen to be less organized and developed, less hasty and feverish in its movements, It does not impress one so much with its hugeness and ponderosity. It is lighter, brighter, quieter, more soothing. It is the civilization of the West robbed of its immensity and seriousness, and reflecting the national characteristics of these light-hearted sons of the East.




Japanese morality has been much written about by men of the West, and many dogmatic judgments have been pronounced upon it. At one extreme, we have been told that "they are the most immoral people on the face of the earth"; at the other, we are told that in morality "they have nothing to learn from the people of Christendom." There is about as much—or rather as little—truth in the one statement as in the other. The fact is that it is necessary to have an experimental acquaintance with Japan before one can really understand or appreciate the moral condition of her people. The moral ideas and teachings to which they have been accustomed from childhood are so different from our own that they could not be expected to approximate to our standards. Judged by the ideas of the West, they are lacking in morality; but from {108} their own standpoint they are a moral people. While we cannot accept theirs as the true standard, it is but fair that, in judging them, we keep this in view.

Before the introduction of Chinese ethics there was no such thing as a moral code. The original native religion, Shinto, taught no doctrines of morality, as we understand them. According to it, to obey implicitly the mikado was the whole duty of man. As for the rest, if a Japanese obeyed the natural impulses of his own heart he would be sure to do right. Modern Shinto writers, in all seriousness, account for this absence of a moral code by stating that originally Japanese nature was pure, clean, and sinless, possessing no tendency to evil or wrong. Barbarians, like the Chinese and Americans, being by nature immoral, were forced to invent a moral code to control their actions; but in Japan this was not necessary, as every Japanese acted aright if he only consulted his own heart. They explain the need for the present moral laws—a need which they acknowledge—by the fact of association with outside nations. Immorality and dissoluteness were introduced by the Chinese and Western peoples, to counteract the evil influence of which they now have the shameful spectacle of a moral law even among the children of the "heaven-descended mikado." So much for the teaching of Shinto in {109} regard to morality. It would be exasperating were it not ludicrous.

Confucius is the master of Japanese morality. His teachings were introduced into Japan early in the Christian era, but they became predominant only in the time of Iyeyasu, in the seventeenth century. This great statesman, warrior, and patron of learning caused the Chinese classics to be printed in Japan for the first time; and from that day to this the morality of Japan has been dominated by Confucian ideas.

In order to understand Japanese morality, it is necessary for us to shift our moral base and try to look at the subject through Japanese eyes. The average native of the West thinks of "morality" as something belonging to the individual. Even in religion his first thought is to save his own soul. The value of the soul, its immortality, its immediate relation to the infinite and eternal Father—these have been emphasized ever since the first establishment of the church. In consequence, there is a duty which man owes to himself. He may not disregard it even at the command of father or king. Within the soul is the holiest of all, for there is heard in conscience the voice of God himself. No external authority may be supreme, and at no external voice may one violate his own convictions of truth.

This thought exalts the individual, and, {110} therefore, sins which degrade our own personality become most repulsive. Thus, among high-minded men truth is almost first among the virtues, and an accusation of falsehood the most hateful of insults. For truth seems peculiarly personal and spiritual, as if belonging to the very sanctuary of one's nature. And in like manner, among women, in popular esteem chastity is of the essence of morality, as its violation seems to contaminate and debase her holiest self.

Now the Confucian ethics rest upon a quite different principle, and in this are at one with the ancient teaching of the Greeks and Romans. The supreme duty is not to the self, but to the organization of which one is but a part—that is, to the family or to the state. The great Chinese moralists were statesmen, and their chief concern was, not the salvation of the individual, but the peace and prosperity of the state. In their view, the family was the unit, and the state a greater family. So the conflict of duties, in their questions of casuistry, is never between individual and social duties, but between duties owed to family and to state. Loyalty to the state and obedience to parents must be supreme; but China and Japan differ as to the value of these two.

According to original Confucianism, the first duty of men is obedience to parents; the second, loyalty to rulers; but in Japan the order of these {111} duties has been changed, the second being given first place.

The people have learned well this teaching of Confucius. Japan was prepared soil for its sowing. The native religion taught that the emperor was a direct descendant of heaven, who ruled by divine right; the provincial lords were his ministers, and hence loyalty was a plain duty. The Confucian teaching only strengthened, deepened, and gave form and outline to a sentiment already existing. This principle of loyalty thus became the foundation stone of Japanese ethics, and one's duty to one's lord paramount to all other duties.

In the olden times the people did not look beyond their own feudal lords and clans to the emperor and the nation. They were to be faithful unto death to these, but no further. Now that loyalty once shown to the local princes and clans finds its apotheosis in the emperor and the empire.

A man's duty to his friends, to his wife and children, and even to his parents, is counted as nothing in comparison with his duty to rulers and country. There are many instances in Japanese history of men who, having slain their own parents, children, wives, for the sake of their prince, were praised. At the time of the recent tidal wave in northern Japan, when the waters were rushing furiously into one home, a husband and {112} father turned a deaf ear to the cries of his drowning wife and children, permitting them to perish that he might save the emperor's picture; and he was applauded for the act. A fire recently demolished the beautiful new buildings of the middle school in Saga. The library, laboratories, and scientific apparatus were mostly destroyed, and many of the students lost their clothing and books. The loss in buildings alone was some $20,000. Yet the thing the loss of which they lamented most deeply was a photograph of the emperor which could easily be replaced for a few yen.

A characteristic story, showing the devotion with which the old samurai carried out this principle of loyalty, is the tale of the forty-seven ronins. It is rather long to insert here, but as it illustrates so well the power of this principle, I will relate it.

In the year 1701 the lord of Ako, Asano by name, visited Yedo to pay his respects to the shogun. While there the shogun appointed him to receive and entertain an envoy from the mikado. Now, the reception of an envoy from the imperial court was one of the greatest state ceremonies of the day, and as Asano knew little of ceremonies and etiquette, he asked the advice of another nobleman, named Kira, who was expert in such matters. This man, who seems to have {113} been of a very mean disposition, grudgingly gave the information desired, and then asked a fee for the same. Asano refused to give the fee, and Kira, becoming angry, twitted and jeered at him, calling him a country lout, unworthy the name of daimio. Asano endured the insults patiently until Kira peremptorily ordered him to stoop down and fasten his foot-gear for him,—a most menial service,—when he drew his sword and gave the offender a deep cut across the face. This quarrel took place in the precincts of the palace, and instantly the whole court was in an uproar. To degrade the sacred place was an insult punishable with death and the confiscation of all property; and Asano was condemned to take his own life by hara-kiri that same evening, his estates were confiscated, his family declared extinct, and his clan disbanded. Henceforth his retainers became ronins ("wandering men"), with no country and no lord. According to the ethics of their country, it was their bounden duty to avenge the death of their lord, and we shall see how relentlessly they followed their purpose until it was accomplished.

The senior retainer of the dead Asano, Oishu Kuranosuke, together with forty-six others of his most trusty fellow-lieges, took counsel as to how they might avenge their lord. They all were willing to lay down their lives in the attempt, but {114} even then the task was difficult, because of the vigilance of the government. For such vengeance was rigidly prohibited by law, although as rigidly required by custom. Notwithstanding the fact that all who slew an enemy for vengeance were punished by death, not to take such vengeance never entered the mind of any chivalrous Japanese. After much planning the forty-seven ronins decided that to avoid the suspicions of the government it would be necessary for them to separate and for the time conceal their purpose. So they separated, settling in different cities, and taking up various occupations. Many of them became carpenters, smiths, and merchants, and in these capacities gained access to Kira's house and learned all about its interior arrangements. The leader of this faithful band, Oishu, went to Kyoto and plunged into a life of drunkenness and debauchery. He even put away his wife and children, and led the most dissolute life possible, simply to throw off the suspicions of the authorities. All of the ronins were closely watched by spies, who secretly reported their conduct to Kira. But by these devices they finally lulled all suspicion, and the vigilance ceased. Then the day long waited for had come. Suddenly, on the night of January 30, 1703, two years after the death of their lord, in the midst of a violent snowstorm, these forty-seven faithful men attacked {115} Kira's castle, forced the gate, and slew all the retainers. Kira, who was a coward at heart, concealed himself in an outhouse. The ronins found him there, drew him forth, and requested him to kill himself by hara-kiri, as was the privilege of a man of his rank. But he refused out of fear, and the retainers of Asano were forced to kill him as they would have killed a common coolie. Thus did they accomplish their purpose and fulfil the high duty of loyalty to their dead lord, after two years of waiting, most careful planning, and ceaseless vigilance.

By the time their purpose was accomplished day had dawned, and, in plain view of the whole city, this brave band marched in order to the temple of Sengakuji, where Asano was buried. The citizens showed them every honor on the way. A wealthy nobleman, as a reward for their loyal deed, sent them out costly refreshments. When they arrived at the temple the head abbot received them in person and showed them every honor. Finding the grave of their dead lord, they laid thereon the head of the enemy by whom he had been so deeply wronged, and then felt that their duty was done. They were all sentenced to commit hara-kiri, which they did willingly. Afterward they were buried together in the same temple grounds with their lord, where their graves can be seen to this day.


These men simply obeyed the ethical code of their time and country, and as a reward for their loyalty they have received the enthusiastic praise of their countrymen for two centuries. No other story is so popular to-day, or so stirs the hearts of the people, as this. While we, believing that vengeance belongs to the Lord, cannot indorse this deed, we must admire the loyalty and faithfulness of those ronins, and the perseverance with which they adhered to their purpose. In this true story we see clearly the power of this first principle of Japanese morality—loyalty.

The sister principle of loyalty in Confucian ethics is obedience to parents. Unquestioning, absolute, implicit obedience is required of all children. Formerly the child was considered the property of the parents, and could be disposed of at will, even to the taking of its life. To-day the father may sell his daughter to a life of shame, or "lend" her to a private individual for immoral purposes; and, however much she may dislike such a life, obedience to parents requires that she acquiesce in his will, which she does uncomplainingly.

This principle of obedience is the foundation stone of Japanese family life. The relation between parents and children is stronger than that between man and wife, and is given a prior place. An only son cannot be forced to leave his mother {117} and become a soldier, but a husband may be forced to leave his wife. Within the family circle, the son's duty to his aged parents always precedes his duty to his wife. Every Japanese feels deeply this obligation to his parents, and properly to support and nourish them in old age he holds to be a sacred duty. Americans could learn much that would be profitable from the reverence and respect shown for parents and teachers by the Japanese.

In Japan, however, this principle is carried too far. It continues after death as binding as before, and divine honors are paid to dead ancestors. Periodical visits are made to their tombs, religious candles are kept burning in their honor, and prayers are said to them. Among the more enlightened to-day there is perhaps nothing in these ceremonies but reverence and respect; yet by the masses of the people ancestors are worshiped.

There are two moral maxims that show well the relative importance in which parents, relatives, and wives are held. They are the following: "Thy father and thy mother are like heaven and earth; thy teacher and thy lord are like the sun and the moon." "Other kinsfolk may be likened to the rushes; husbands and wives are but as useless stones."

It is apparent that virtues have differing values in the Confucian and Christian systems. We can {118} appreciate their point of view best, perhaps, as we remember the ethics of an army. Here obedience, loyalty, self-devotion, courage, are supreme. Much is forgiven if these are manifested. The organization is everything, and the individual nothing, save as he is a fraction of the great machine. Carry that idea into the social community, and think of it as an army, with all, women as well as men, of value only as parts of the greater whole, and we shall understand why and how the Japanese may esteem men and women righteous whom we judge debased and even criminal. So would the Japanese judge them, were the motive mere passion or selfish desire, but not when the controlling power is loyalty or obedience. Thus the forty-seven ronin were pre-eminently "righteous" when they debauched themselves with every swinish vice.

Of course this view of morality puts great temptation in the way of parents and rulers. Having supreme power, they may use it to the degradation of those whom they control. Confucius, it is true, taught parents and rulers that they too owed duties to the state, and that use of their Heaven-given powers for selfish ends was treason against the supreme law; but, beyond doubt, the duty of submission, of loyalty and unquestioning obedience, was so exaggerated that evils many and great resulted. At the same time {119} a sympathetic view leads one to wonder the rather that the ethical results are so wholesome.

Turning from this general view, one finds in particulars much the same conditions as in other lands. For example, immense quantities of alcoholic stimulants are consumed annually. There is a native liquor called "sake," made from rice, that is very popular and, in some of its forms, very intoxicating. Its manufacture and sale is one of the most lucrative businesses in the empire. Foreign whiskies, wines, and beers are sold in large quantities, but they are so costly as to be beyond the reach of all but the wealthy. Outside of the small circle of Christians, there are few people who do not drink. The total abstainer is a rarity. But, while nearly every one drinks, in general the Japanese do not drink to such excess as other nations. One seldom sees such beastly drunkenness as is often seen in the West. Drinking is taken as a matter of course, and society does not condemn it. The usual way in which Japanese men pass a dull day is in feasting and drinking. The use of alcoholic stimulants is much more common here than at home.

In business and commercial morality there is much to be desired. The merchants do not sell according to the worth of an article, but according to what they can make the purchaser pay. They are great bargainers. Recently I wanted to buy {120} two large wall-pictures. The dealer asked me $21 for them, but finally sold them for $5. It is a very common thing to buy articles for less than half the price first asked. In matters of veracity and in the fulfilment of contracts Japanese merchants are not generally to be trusted. The average man is famous for lying, and the merchants and tradesmen seem to have acquired an extra share of this general characteristic. A Japanese trader will do all in his power to avoid the fulfilment of a contract if it entails a loss. This lack of commercial honor is recognized by the foreign firms doing business here, and it has hindered not a little the growth and development of trade.

The moral sense of the people in regard to taking one's own life is very different from that of Christendom. From ancient times, suicide has been thought to be a praiseworthy act, and has been extensively practised. Formerly it was encouraged, and sometimes required, by the government; but now it has no official sanction whatever. Still, the custom exists, and some authorities place the annual number of suicides as high as 10,000. The people laugh at our Western idea that it is wrong to take one's own life. On the contrary, they hold that when misfortunes and calamities make this life unattractive it is the part of wisdom to end it. Even the feelings of young Japanese, {121} who have been educated somewhat into our own way of thinking, do not seem to have changed on this point; they still adhere to the old Roman view that self-destruction is permissible and often meritorious. The Western fiction that all suicides are the result of some form of insanity is not countenanced here. The various causes leading to self-destruction are coolly and carefully tabulated, and very few are attributed to insanity. Contrariwise, long and careful study of the subject has shown that self-destruction is gone about with as much coolness, precision, and judgment as any act of daily life.

The above are in brief the leading moral ideas and principles that govern the Japanese people. For their loyalty and obedience we have only admiration. But both of these principles are given an undue importance and are carried to extremes. The chief defect of Japanese morality is the minor place it gives to the individual. The moral need of the nation is a Christian morality—not just the morality of the West, but a morality founded on the ethical principles inculcated in the Bible. This would exalt truth and chastity, would soften and temper the great duties of loyalty and obedience, and would make of Japan an honest, temperate nation.




The Japanese are by nature a religious people. In the earliest times a conglomerate mass of superstitions and mythological ideas was made to do service as a religion. Fetishism, phallicism, animism, and tree- and serpent-worship were very common. The line of distinction between the Creator and the creature was not clearly marked; gods and men mingled and intermingled, and were hardly known apart. But it is not our purpose here to trace the ancient religious ideas of Japan, but rather to give a short account of contemporary religions. Therefore we cannot dwell on these unwritten mythological-religious systems.

The religions of contemporary Japan are four—Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Tenrikyo. Shinto and Tenrikyo are indigenous; Buddhism and Confucianism have been imported from China and Korea. Tenrikyo is of recent origin and has {123} not yet the influence and standing of the others. Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism have existed here side by side for centuries. There is no great antagonism between them, as there is between Christianity and the ethnic religions. Many of the people are disciples of all three at the same time, taking their theology from Shinto, their soteriology and eschatology from Buddhism, and their moral and economic ideas from Confucianism. No inconsistency is felt in thus believing all three religions and worshiping at their shrines. Indeed, these three faiths have so commingled, the ideas and practices of one have so filtered into the others, that it is hard now to distinguish the pure teachings of each. In the minds of the masses they are not distinguished in detail. And yet as regards origin, history, and teachings they are separate and distinct faiths.


Shinto may be called the national cult of Japan. The word "Shinto" means "the way of the gods." This system hardly deserves the name religion. It has no moral code, no dogmas, no sacred books. Originally it consisted chiefly of ancestor- and nature-worship, and of certain mythological ideas. A chief feature of it still is the worship of ancestors, who are exalted to a high pedestal in thought {124} and worshiped as gods. The divine origin of the imperial family, and the obligation to worship and obey it, was a prominent teaching of Shinto. The ancestors of the imperial family were to be held in supreme reverence and were the objects of especial worship.

According to the Shinto of this period, there was neither heaven nor hell, but only an intermediate Hades. There was a sort of priesthood, but its duty was to watch over particular local gods, not to preach to the people. Pure Shinto taught that a man's whole duty lay in absolute obedience to the mikado and in following the natural promptings of his own heart.

Shinto was very much affected by the introduction of Buddhism, about the middle of the sixth century, and its further growth was checked. Buddhism adopted and largely absorbed it. Shinto gods were given a place in the Buddhist pantheon, and many of the Shinto ceremonies were adopted. But Shinto was completely overshadowed by Buddhism, and lay in a dormant state from the year 550 to 1700, a night of more than a thousand years.

A Shinto Temple.
A Shinto Temple.

Since the beginning of the eighteenth century a revival of Shinto has sprung up. Native scholars tried to call up the past, to find out what pure Shinto was before its corruption by Buddhism, and to teach it as the national faith. In this effort {125} they were partially successful. The old Buddhistic accretions were largely thrown off, and many of the temples, stripped of their Buddhist ornaments, were handed over to the Shinto priests. Buddhism was disestablished, and Shinto again became the religion of the state. A Shinto "Council for Spiritual Affairs" was appointed, which had equal rank with the Council of State. This, however, was reduced gradually to the rank of a department, then to a bureau, later to a sub-bureau. At present Shinto is the state religion, in so far as there can be said to be any state religion; but in reality there is no established religion. The connection of the government with Shinto extends no further than the maintenance of certain temples and the attendance of certain officials on some ceremonies. Shinto enjoys a large amount of popularity because it is indigenous, while Buddhism and Confucianism labor under the disadvantage of being of foreign origin. The majority of the upper classes in Japan who to-day have any religion at all are Shintoists.


The religion founded by Buddha in India is six centuries older than Christianity. Its nominal adherents comprise almost one third of the human race. Its philosophical precepts are deep {126} and profound, while its ethical teachings are, for the most part, lofty and ennobling. This religion is worthy the careful study of any man who has the time and inclination.

We cannot attempt to give a full exposition of it, but will have to content ourselves with a bare mention of its more prominent teachings. Certain resemblances to Catholicism in ritual, ceremony, and ornamentation strike one very forcibly in observing Buddhist rites. The candles, the incense, the images and processions, all resemble Rome. But this resemblance extends no further than ritual and ceremony. In point of doctrine Buddhism is widely separated from every form of Christianity. In Buddhism the condition on which grace is received is not faith, but knowledge and enlightenment. Salvation is accomplished, not by the vicarious sufferings of a Redeemer, but by self-perfection through self-denial and discipline.

Dr. Griffis, a man who has written much and well on Japan, has pronounced the principal features of Buddhism to be atheism, metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls, and absence of caste.

A Buddhist Priest.

Buddhism knows nothing of the existence of a supreme God who created the world. It inherited ideas of certain gods from Brahmanism, but these are made secondary to the hotoke, or buddhas, {127} who are simply men who have finally reached the calm of perfect holiness after toiling through endless ages and countless existences. It teaches that existence itself is the chief of all evils. Instead of longing for eternal life, the Buddhist longs for annihilation. Happy, well-fed Western people, to whom existence is a delight, can hardly understand how any one can really desire its cessation. But the life of the lower classes in many countries of the East is one daily struggle for bread, so full of sorrow and misery that it is not unnatural they should desire to end it.

This religion teaches that the evil of existence springs from the double root of ignorance and human passions, and is to be overcome by knowledge and self-discipline. The heaven it offers is absorption in the Nirvana—the loss of personal identity and practical annihilation.

Buddhism numbers more devotees and exerts a greater influence than any of the other religions of Japan. It was received from Korea about the middle of the sixth century. After it had been transplanted and had grown into popular favor, many Japanese were sent to Korea and China to study its doctrines more fully; and they brought back with them not only Buddhism, but also Chinese literature and civilization. At first Buddhism encountered fierce opposition, but it was fortunate in securing court patronage, and {128} very soon the opposition entirely ceased, so that in two or three centuries it spread itself throughout the whole empire. If ever a nation was ripe for the introduction of a foreign religion, that nation was Japan at that time. The national cult was silent, or almost so, in regard to the destiny of man and many other questions which religion is expected to answer. The religious nature of the people was asserting itself, and they were longing for more light on the great questions of life—its whence, why, and whither. Buddhism gave this light, and therefore was warmly welcomed. It had the whole field to itself, and took complete possession of it.

A Buddhist Cemetery.
A Buddhist Cemetery.

From the time of its introduction into Japan down to the present, Buddhism has enjoyed a wide popularity and exerted a powerful influence. It is not too much to say that Buddhism has largely formed Japanese civilization and national life. In the words of Professor Chamberlain, "All education was for centuries in Buddhist hands. Buddhism introduced art and medicine, molded the folk-lore of the country, created its dramatic poetry, deeply influenced politics and every sphere of social and intellectual activity. In a word, Buddhism was the teacher under whose instruction the Japanese nation grew up."

Buddhism has by no means lost its hold in Japan. It still has great life and power. Some {129} writers have said that they have never seen a new temple in Japan—only old ones falling into decay. Their experience must have been limited. I see plenty of new temples, some of which are very costly.

Buddhist temples are numerous, and many are of imposing architecture. Being generally surrounded by tall trees, they have a lonely, mournful appearance. Hideous beasts, dragons, and serpents are carved upon them, and large, fierce-looking stone lions guard them, the effect being to awe and terrify the beholder. Some are furnished with gorgeous altars covered with beautiful flowers, images, and statues. Besides the temples there are everywhere little shrines. The religious spirit of the people prompts them to dedicate the most beautiful spots and nooks to the gods, and there to erect shrines and idols.

Buddhist priests dress in robes not very unlike the official robes of the Episcopal clergy. Their heads are always close-shaven, a mark by which they are easily distinguished. Forbidden to marry, they are expected to lead lives of purity and chastity. They have greatly degenerated, a large per cent. being illiterate and immoral. Their lives will not bear comparison with those of the Christian evangelists. That nearly all the cemeteries of Japan are in their hands gives them great influence.


Japanese Buddhism is divided into numerous sects, chief of which are the Tendai, Shingon, Jodo, and Zen, of Chinese origin, and the Shin and Nichiren, of native origin. The latter two are most prosperous.

Buddhism has profited by its contact with Christianity. As the reaction of Protestantism upon Catholicism was beneficial to the latter, so the reaction of Christianity upon Buddhism has been healthful It has forced a revival and purification of the Buddhist faith, and to-day it is better and more active than before it encountered Christianity. Still, Christianity is gradually encroaching upon its domain and is crippling its influence. That Buddhism is bound to perish in its encounter with Western civilization and Christianity seems a foregone conclusion.


Confucianism is even less deserving the name of a religion than Shinto. It consists chiefly in a set of moral teachings, of narrow application and mostly of a political nature. Confucius, avoiding all metaphysical abstractions and devotional rhapsodies, confined himself to the much more practical field of morals and politics. But his disciples and commentators, especially during the middle ages, expanded his doctrines and added ideas {131} more or less religious. Thus developed, it became a sort of religious system, the only one believed by the old samurai or warrior classes.

Confucius, its founder, was born in the year 551 B.C., in the state of Lu, province of Shantung, China. He was an earnest student of the older Chinese classics, and one of the most learned men of his time. He gathered round him a circle of young men, whom he instructed, like Socrates, by questions and answers. He died in 478 B.C. No other human teacher has had more disciples or exerted a wider and stronger influence.

From its birthplace in China Confucianism spread to Korea, where it soon became, and still continues to be, the predominant faith. From Korea it advanced to the Japanese archipelago, where for many hundred years it has had much to do with shaping and molding the character of the people. Confucianism has undergone many modifications. At first a comparatively simple system of ethics and politics, it has expanded until to-day it is a complicated philosophico-religious system.

The basal principles of Confucian ethics are the "five relations." These are: sovereign and minister; father and son; husband and wife; elder brother and younger brother; friend and friend. I have named them in the order of their importance. The duty of loyalty is above that of filial {132} obedience, while the relation of husband and wife is inferior to both of these. We will briefly consider each of these relations separately.

The duty of a minister, or servant, to his prince, or sovereign, is the first duty of man, and is emphasized to an extreme degree. In order to discharge this obligation to the feudal lord or emperor, one must, if necessary, give up everything: house, lands, kinsmen, name, fame, wife, children, society—all. And Japanese history is filled with instances of retainers who have counted their lives, their families, their all, as less than nothing when compared with their duty to their lord. Loyalty is the one idea which dominates all others in the Confucianism of Japan. Thus it has exerted an influence hardly second to Shinto in inculcating loyalty to the emperor and to Japan, and making the people fanatically patriotic.

The second relation is that of father and son, or parent and child. My readers perhaps would consider the relation of husband and wife the first of all human relations, but not so the Oriental. With him the family is of far more importance than the individual, and the chief aim of marriage is the maintenance of the family line. If the wife becomes a mother she is honored because she assists in perpetuating the family line; if she is childless she is probably neglected. Where there are no children adoption is the universal practice. {133} The one adopted takes the family name and perpetuates it. No greater misfortune can be conceived than for the house to become extinct.

The relation of parent and child is very different from that to which we are accustomed. Mutual love hardly exists. The parent feels compassion and love for his child; the child reverences the parent. To speak of a child's love for his father, or a man's love for God, is repugnant to the Confucianist. It is thought to be taking an undue familiarity, and the proper relation is considered one of dependence and reverence. In old Japan the father was absolute lord and master, and had power over the life and death of his child. In recent times his power is more limited, and the idea is beginning to dawn upon thinking natives that children have rights as well as duties. A Japanese child feels more reverence for its parents, or at least for its father, than does the average child reared in the Christian homes of the West.

The third relation is that of husband and wife. On this point the teaching of Confucius is very different from that of Christ. Instead of having two parties bound together by mutual love, with equal rights and duties, we have the relation of superior and inferior, of master and servant. The husband precedes the wife in all things. She must serve him and his family zealously and {134} uncomplainingly. She must be especially on her guard against the foolish sin of jealousy, and is not to complain if her husband introduces a concubine into the same house in which she resides. She is to yield absolute obedience to him in all things. She can be divorced for very slight reasons, and divorces are matters of every-day occurrence. Statistics show that the annual number of divorces is about one third the number of marriages. Sentiment is gradually changing in this regard, and marriage and divorce laws are becoming more strict.

Confucius condemned adultery as a heinous crime, but this teaching is made to apply only to the wife. She must remain true to her husband, but he is not considered under the same obligation to her.

The fourth relation is that of elder brother and younger brother. This is evident from the language used to express the relation of children of the same household to one another. The word for brother or sister is seldom used; in fact, there is no word to express just that idea. In its stead we hear "elder brother," "elder sister," and "younger brother," "younger sister." The children of a household are not considered equals; the elder ones are given the preference in all things. Especially does the eldest son hold a position of prominence far above that of the other children. {135} He is looked upon as the perpetuator of the family line and is given especial honor. His younger brothers and his sisters, and even his mother, must serve and obey him.

The younger sons are subjects for adoption into other families, especially into those where there are daughters to be married and family names to be perpetuated. This is in accordance with the Eastern idea that the house is of more importance than the individual. Confucian ethics largely overlooks the idea of personality.

The fifth relation is that between friends. Some writers have spoken of this as that of man to man, and have thus read Christian ideas into Confucianism; but this relation as taught by Confucius is only between friends. As regards man and man, Confucius taught the duties of courtesy and propriety, but no others. He taught the duty of kindness to strangers, but most students of his writings are of the opinion that he did not include foreigners among strangers. The nearest approach to Christianity in Confucianism is the negative of the golden rule, "Do not do unto others as you would not have others do unto you." This approaches the teaching of Christ very nearly, but only in a negative form. Some have thought that Confucius taught the duty of returning good for evil, but this is a mistake. One of his contemporaries, Lao-tse, did teach {136} this duty; but when Confucius was asked about it he replied, "What, then, will you return for good? Recompense injury with justice, and return good for good."

Certain it is that this relation, as understood in Japan, does not apply to foreigners. How the Japanese treated foreigners in former times is well known. Foreign sailors shipwrecked on her coasts were tortured and executed. Ships from abroad, bringing shipwrecked Japanese back to their own country, were met with powder and ball and repulsed. Commodore Perry, in attempting to establish a treaty with Japan, justly complained to the native authorities that the dictates of humanity had not been followed, that shipwrecked men were treated with useless cruelty, and that Japan's attitude toward her neighbors and all the world was that of an enemy and not of a friend. The fifth relation did not teach a common brotherhood of men and obligations of kindness to foreigners. It applied only to the charmed circle of friendship.

On these five relations rests the whole Japanese social and moral structure. Family and national life has been shaped and molded by them. They are the ten commandments of the East. How very different from the principles which have determined our own family and social life!

Confucianism in Japan has been developed into {137} a highly complicated religious system, and in this form is believed by large numbers of high-class, educated Japanese. It is wholly pantheistic in its teaching, having points of resemblance with German pantheism. It knows no such thing as God as a separate existence. Rather, all is God. Dr. Martin, of China, has well styled it "a pantheistic medley."

Although Confucianism has long had a strong hold upon Japanese minds, its influence is waning. The ancient classics are little studied, and the younger generation knows almost nothing of them. The great temple of Confucius in Tokyo, the Seido, has been changed into an educational museum.


Perhaps some will think that Tenrikyo does not deserve mention along with the before-named great religions. Certainly it is not worthy of the respect accorded to them, and has not exerted such an influence as they have. It is of very recent origin and is as yet confined to the lower strata of society. But its disciples constitute one of the most vigorous and active religious bodies in Japan to-day. Its growth has been remarkably rapid, especially during the past five years. Government recognition has been already gained, and it is gradually making a place for itself among {138} the religions of Japan. Some authorities place the number of its adherents as high as 5,000,000, but these figures are probably too high.

Tenrikyo is a missionary religion, having very earnest representatives in almost every district in Japan. These men rely almost exclusively upon preaching for the propagation of their doctrines, and their efforts are generally successful.

Space permits us to say only a few words in regard to the origin of this religion. Its founder was a peasant woman named Nakayama Miiki, popularly called Omiiki, who was born of a very poor family in the province of Yamato in 1798, There was nothing remarkable about her life until her fortieth year, when she fell into a trance. While in this state one of the old Shinto deities, Kuni-Toko-Tachi No Mikoto, appeared to her, and, after causing her much distress, left her for a short time undisturbed. After this brief interval of quiet she again fell into a trance, and was visited by a large number of gods, some of them the greatest of the Shinto pantheon. These gods revealed to her the substance of her teaching, representing it as the only true doctrine and the one which would ultimately triumph over all others. They also informed her that she was the divinely appointed instrument through whom this revelation was to be given to the world. From {139} this time forward Omiiki devoted herself to the propagation of this revelation.

Not wishing to break entirely with the old religions, she represented her revelation as having been received from the Shinto gods, and gave a place in her teaching to some prominent Buddhist elements. By this means she won popular favor and gained an earnest hearing.

The term "Tenrikyo" signifies the "Doctrine of the Heavenly Reason." While many of its teachings differ but little from current Shinto and Buddhistic ideas, its more prominent tenets are radically different.

In the first place, Tenrikyo tends much toward monotheism. Omiiki herself accepted polytheism, but taught that man's real allegiance is due to the sun and the moon. These she regarded as the real gods; but as they always work together, and as the world and all things therein are the product of their joint working, they are practically one. Since her death the teaching has become more and more monotheistic in tendency, and some of its preachers teach explicit monotheism.

Omiiki taught a new relation between the gods and men—a relation of parents to children. The gods watch over and love their children just as earthly parents do. The emperor is the elder brother of the people, who rules as the representative of the divine parents.


Faith-healing formed a prominent part in the original teaching of Tenrikyo. It asserted that neither physicians nor medicine was needed, but that cures are to be effected through faith alone. Marvelous stories are told of the wonderful cures it has accomplished, many of which seem well authenticated. But while there seems no good reason for doubting the genuineness of some of these cures, the power of mind over mind, and the influence of personal magnetism in certain kinds of nervous disorders, are so well known that they can be easily explained without any reference to the supernatural. The faith-cure feature of this religion is now falling into disuse.

Tenrikyo makes very little of the future state, although Omiiki assumed its reality. In one passage she refers to the soul as an emanation from the gods, and says that after death it will go back to them. She teaches that the cause of suffering, disease, and sin is found in the impurity of the human heart, and that the heart must be cleansed before believers can receive the divine favor. She insists over and over again that no prayers nor religious services are of any avail so long as the heart is impure.

The aim of Omiiki and her followers seems to be a worthy one. The movement is highly ethical, and there is little doubt but that the adherents of the Tenrikyo are superior in morals to {141} the rest of their class. Some features of this new religion are, however, looked upon with suspicion, and it is being closely watched by the government. Charges of gross immorality have been preferred against it, especially in reference to the midnight dances, in which both sexes are said to participate indiscriminately; but these charges are made by its enemies and have never been proved.

In many respects Tenrikyo materially differs from the other religions of Japan. Its adherents assemble at stated times for worship and instruction, while the Buddhists assemble in the temples for worship and preaching only three or four times a year, and the Shintoists seldom, if ever, assemble. The worship of Tenrikyo, for the most part, consists of praise and thanksgiving by music and dancing; but prayer is also practised.

Another distinguishing characteristic of Tenrikyo is that it is exclusive. The other religions of Japan are very tolerant of one another; one may believe them all. But Tenrikyo will not tolerate either Buddhism or Shinto. Its adherents must give their allegiance to it alone.

It is interesting to conjecture as to the influence Christianity has had upon Tenrikyo. It does not seem probable that Omiiki was at all influenced by it, unless the traditions of the Catholic Christianity of some two or three hundred years previous reached her in some way. But the expansion {142} and development of the system by its later teachers have been very much affected by Christianity. Some of its present preachers, in constructing their sermons, borrow largely from Christian sources. In the minds of the common people Tenrikyo is generally associated with Christianity.

There are several other small religious sects in Japan, such as the Remmon Kyokwai, Kurozumi Kyokwai, etc., but they are not of sufficient importance to command notice here.

Any statement of the religions of contemporary Japan would be incomplete without notice of Christianity, but that will be reserved for another portion of this book.

The three great religions, Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism, are completely woven into the warp and woof of Japanese society. As Christianity has shaped the political, social, and family life of the West, so these ancient faiths have that of the East. The laws, the morality, the manners and customs of these peoples all have been determined by their religions. And to-day the masses of the people look to them for principles to guide their present life, and for their future spiritual welfare, with just as much confidence and trust as my readers look to Christianity. The missionary, in his work, must encounter and {143} vanquish all of these religions, which is no light task. They all have elements of superstition, and their origin and supernatural teachings will not bear the search-light of the growing spirit of criticism and investigation. Each one of them is even now modifying gradually its doctrines in some features, so as to bring them into harmony with true learning and science; and as the nation progresses intellectually the hold of these ancient faiths upon the common mind will become more and more precarious. We expect to see them gradually retreating, though stubbornly resisting every inch of ground, until they shall finally leave the field to their younger and more vigorous antagonists, Christianity and civilization.




One of the most interesting chapters of Japanese history is that relating to the introduction and growth of Catholic Christianity in the sixteenth century. This story has been eloquently told in nearly all European languages, and is familiar to the reading public. The terrible persecutions then enacted are vividly represented in paintings and other works of art on exhibition in art galleries of Europe and America. This chapter is not written with the hope of saying anything new upon the subject, but because a story of mission work in Japan would be incomplete without it; and it may be that some for the first time will here read this story.

In order rightly to appreciate the introduction and spread of Christianity in Japan, it is necessary that we take a bird's-eye view of the internal condition of the country about the middle of the {145} sixteenth century. The Japanese were not then, as now, a homogeneous people with a strong central government. The emperor, although the nominal ruler, was in reality the creature of the shogun, who was the real ruler. His title to the shogunate was frequently disputed, however, and rival claimants waged fierce war upon him. The whole of Japan was divided into warring factions that were hardly ever at peace with one another. The feudal lords of the various provinces were only bound to the central government by the weakest ties, and were continually in a state of rebellion. Many of these daimios were great and powerful, able to wage war with the shogun himself. Jealousy and rivalry between the provinces kept up constant quarrels and divisions. Bad government, internal wars, the disputes and quarrels of different clans, and the ambitions and jealousies of their rulers had destroyed the resources of the country and had devastated her rich and beautiful cities. Even the fine old capital of Kyoto is represented as at that time in a state of dilapidation and ruin, its streets filled with unburied corpses and all kinds of debris and filth. Kamakura, the seat of the shogun's government, once boasting 1,000,000 inhabitants, was in ashes.

In those dark times there was little in the prevalent religions to cheer and uplift discouraged {146} men. Shinto was so completely overshadowed by Buddhism that it was little more than a myth. Buddhism had become a political system, and paid little attention to purely religious matters. The priests had degenerated into an army of mercenaries, living in luxury and dissoluteness. The common people were in a continual state of excitement and ferment.

Into this disordered, chaotic society Catholic Christianity was first introduced. The conditions were favorable to its reception.

St. Francis Xavier, one of the most devoted, earnest, and successful missionaries ever sent out by the Roman Church, has the honor of having been the first missionary to Japan. He was led to go there in the following manner: A refugee from Japan, named Anjiro, had wandered to Malacca, and there he met Xavier, who was at that time engaged in preaching the gospel in India and the Sunda Islands. Through Xavier's influence Anjiro was converted to Christianity. The stories which he told of his own people fired the great evangelist with the desire to preach the gospel to the Japanese. A few years prior to this some Portuguese traders had made their way to Japan, had been warmly received, and had begun a lucrative trade. Some of the daimios expressed to them a desire to have the Christian religion taught to their people; and Xavier no {147} sooner heard of this than he set out for Japan, accompanied by the native convert Anjiro.

They landed at Kagoshima, a large city on the coast of the southern island of Kyushu, August 15, 1549. The prince of Satsuma gave Xavier a hearty welcome, but afterward became jealous because one of the rival clans had been furnished with firearms by the Portuguese merchants, so that Xavier was compelled to remove to Hirado. From there he went to Nagato, thence to Bungo, where he again met a warm reception. Although so great a missionary, and having labored in so many countries, Xavier is said never to have mastered completely a single foreign tongue. He studied the rudiments of Japanese, but, finding that way much too slow, began preaching through an interpreter, with marked success and power. Anjiro had translated the Gospel of Matthew, writing it in Roman letters, and Xavier is said to have read this to the people with wonderful effect. He stayed only two and a half years in Japan; yet in that short time he organized several congregations in the neighborhood of Yamaguchi and Hirado, and visited and preached in the old capital Kyoto. He then left the work in the hands of other missionaries, while he undertook the spiritual conquest of China. This ancient empire, with her hard, conservative civilization, impervious to foreign influence, lay like a burden {148} on his heart. Contemplating her learning, her pride, and her exclusiveness, he uttered the despairing cry, "O mountain, mountain, when wilt thou open to my Lord?" He died December 2, 1551, on an island in the Canton River.

The inspiring example of Xavier attracted scores of missionaries to Japan, and also incited the native converts to constitute themselves missionaries to their kinsmen and friends; and their labors bore much fruit. In a very short time, in the region of Kyoto alone, there were seven strong churches; and the island of Amakusa, the greater part of the Goto Islands, and the daimiates of Omura and Yamaguchi had become Christian. In 1581 the churches had grown to two hundred, and the number of Christians to 150,000. The converts were drawn from all classes of the people; Buddhist priests, scholars, and noblemen embraced the new faith with as much readiness as did the lower classes. Two daimios had accepted it, and were doing all in their power to aid the missionaries in their provinces. At this period the missionaries and Christians found a powerful supporter in Nobunaga, the minister of the mikado. This man openly welcomed the foreign priests, and gave them suitable grounds on which to build their churches, schools, and dwellings; and under his patronage the new {149} religion grew apace. Catholic Christianity took its deepest root in the southern provinces, flourishing especially in Bungo, Omura, and Arima; but there were churches as far north as Yedo, and evangelists had carried the tidings of Christ and the "Mother of God" even to the northern boundaries of the empire. This was the high tide of Japanese Catholicism.

The native Christians were so earnest and loyal to the church that, in 1583, they sent an embassy of four young noblemen to Rome to pay their respects to the pope and to declare themselves his spiritual vassals. They were suspected by some of their countrymen of desiring to become his vassals in another sense as well. This embassy was received with the greatest honors by the pope, as well as by the European princes, and was sent away heavily laden with presents. After an absence of eight years it returned to Nagasaki, accompanied by seventeen more Jesuit fathers. Up to this time all of the priests laboring in Japan were members of this order. From time to time other embassies were despatched from Japan to Rome, one of which was sent many years after the persecutions had begun. Catholic histories put the number of native Christians at this time at about 600,000, but native authorities put it much higher.



Such was the happy state of Christianity in this empire as the sixteenth century was drawing to a close. But, thick and fast, clouds were gathering over the horizon, and suddenly and furiously the storm broke. The loss of their protector, Nobunaga, was the beginning of the misfortunes of the Christians. This great man was slain by an assassin, Akechi by name, who attempted to take the reins of government into his own hands. Hideyoshi, one of the greatest men Japan ever produced, now came upon the stage. He was the loyal general of the mikado, and, by the help of the Christian general Takayama, he overthrew the usurper Akechi, and became the molder of the destinies of the empire. He was the unifier of Japan.

Hideyoshi was at first tolerant of Christianity; but his suspicions were by and by aroused, and he became a cruel and relentless persecutor. According to Dr. Griffis, his umbrage arose partly because a Portuguese captain would not please him by risking his ship in coming out of deep water and nearer land, and partly because some Christian maidens of Arima scorned his degrading proposals. The quarrels of the Christians themselves also helped to bring on the persecutions. {151} Franciscan and Dominican missionaries from Spain had recently landed in Japan, and they were continually at strife with the Portuguese Jesuits. The jealousy and indiscretion of these unfriendly religious orders, and the slanders circulated by the Buddhists, stirred up the popular fury, and a persecution of fire and blood broke out. Hideyoshi issued an edict commanding the Jesuits to leave the country in twenty days; but this edict was winked at, and the persecutions were carried on only locally and spasmodically. The converts increased faster during these persecutions than before, about 10,000 being added each year.

In open violation of the edict, four Franciscan priests came to Kyoto in 1593 with a Spanish envoy. They were allowed to build houses and reside there on the express condition that they were not to preach or teach, either publicly or privately. Immediately violating their pledge, they began preaching openly in the streets, wearing the vestments of their order. They excited a great deal of discord among the Jesuit congregations and used most violent language. Hideyoshi was angered at this,—as he had good reason to be,—and caused nine preachers to be seized while they were building chapels in Osaka and Kyoto, and condemned to death. These, together with three Portuguese Jesuits, six Spanish {152} Franciscans, and seventeen native Christians, were crucified on bamboo crosses in Nagasaki, February 5, 1597. They were put to death, not as Christians, but as law-breakers and political conspirators.

Hideyoshi was further confirmed in his opinion that these foreign priests had political designs by the remark of a Spanish sea-captain who showed him a map of the world, on which the vast dominions of the King of Spain were clearly marked, and who, in reply to the question as to how his master came by such wide territories, foolishly replied that he first sent priests to win over the people, then soldiers to coöperate with the native converts, and the conquest was easy. Hideyoshi's fears were not entirely ungrounded. The truth is that Catholic Christianity has always been, and was especially at that time, so intimately connected with the state that her emissaries could not keep from entangling themselves in politics.

Hideyoshi died in 1597, and with the death of their persecutor the missionaries again took heart and began their work anew. The political successor of Hideyoshi was Iyeyasu—a man even greater, perhaps, than his predecessor. He was not permitted to assume direction of affairs without a fierce and bloody struggle. Around the capital 200,000 soldiers were gathered under ambitious rival leaders. Soon the camps were {153} divided into two factions, the northern soldiers under Iyeyasu, and the southern soldiers under their own daimios. Most of the Christians were naturally allied with the latter party. Believing Iyeyasu to be a usurper, the Christian generals arrayed themselves against him and went forth to meet him in the open field. On the field of Sekigahara a bloody battle was fought, and 10,000 men lost their lives. The Christians were beaten, and were dealt with after the custom of the time—their heads were stricken off. Iyeyasu, finding himself in undisputed possession of the reins of government, began at once the completion of the work of Hideyoshi, i.e., the creation of a strong central government and the subjugation of the several daimios. Henceforth the Christians had to deal with this central government instead of the petty local ones.

Systematic persecutions were now begun in the different provinces, culminating in the year 1606, when Iyeyasu issued his famous edict prohibiting Christianity. At this time there were more than 1,000,000 Christians in Japan. An outward show of obedience warded off active persecution for a few years, when the Franciscan friars again aroused the wrath of the government by openly violating the laws and exhorting their converts to do likewise. In 1611 Iyeyasu is reported to have discovered documentary evidence of the {154} existence of a plot on the part of the native Christians and the foreign emissaries to overthrow the government and reduce Japan to the position of a subject state. Taking advantage of the opportunity thus afforded, he determined to utterly extirpate Christianity from his dominions. January 27, 1614, he issued the famous edict in which he branded the Jesuit missionaries as triple enemies—as enemies of the gods, of Japan, and of the buddhas. Desiring to avoid so much bloodshed, if possible, he tried the plan of transportation. Three hundred persons—Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, Augustinians, and natives—were shipped from Nagasaki to Macao. But many priests concealed themselves and were overlooked. The native Christians refused to renounce their faith. It was evident that the end was not yet. The Christians were sympathizers with Hideyori, who had been a rival claimant with Iyeyasu for the shogunate, and whose castle in Osaka was the greatest stronghold in the empire. In this castle Hideyori gave shelter to some Christians, and Iyeyasu called out a great army and laid siege to it. The war which followed was very brief, but, if the report of the Jesuits is to be relied upon, 100,000 men perished. The castle finally fell, and with it the cause of the Christians. Hidetada, the next shogun, now pronounced sentence of death upon {155} every foreigner, whether priest or catechist, found in the country. All native converts who refused to renounce their faith were likewise sentenced to death. The story of the persecutions that followed is too horrible to be described. Fire and sword were freely used to extirpate Christianity. Converts were wrapped in straw sacks, piled in heaps of living fuel, and then set on fire. Many were burned with fires made from the crosses before which they were accustomed to bow. Some were buried alive. All the tortures that barbaric cruelty could invent were freely used to rid the land of them. The calmness and fortitude with which they bore their lot, gladly dying for their faith, command our warmest admiration. The power of our religion to uphold and sustain even in the midst of torture was never more strikingly illustrated, and the ancient Roman world produced no more willing martyrs than did Japan at this time.

At last even the patient, uncomplaining Japanese Christians could stand it no longer. Persecuted until desperate, those who remained finally arose in rebellion, seized and fortified the old castle of Shimabara, and resolved to die rather than submit. The rebelling party probably numbered about 30,000, and there was not one foreigner among them. A veteran army, led by skilled commanders, was sent against the rebels, {156} and after a stubborn resistance of four months the castle was taken. Men, women, and children—all were slaughtered. There is an old story to the effect that many of them were thrown from the rock of Pappenburg into the sea; but it lacks confirmation and doubtless is only a myth. It has also been charged against the Protestant Hollanders then resident in Nagasaki that they assisted in the overthrow of the Shimabara castle and the destruction of the Catholics with their heavy guns, but this probably is untrue.

There was now left no power to resist, and the sword, fire, and banishment swept away every trace of Christianity. The extermination appeared so complete that non-Christian writers have pointed to Japan as a land in which Christianity had been entirely conquered by the sword, thus proving that it could be extirpated. But the extirpation was not so thorough as at first appeared. Christian converts remained, and assembled regularly for worship; but the utmost secrecy was observed, for fear of the authorities. When the country was reopened in 1859, the Catholic fathers found remaining in and around Nagasaki whole villages of Christians, holding their faith in secret, it is true, but still holding it. During the two hundred years in which they had been left alone the faith had become corrupt, but there were still thousands of people who, amid {157} much ignorance, worshiped the true God and refused to bow at pagan shrines. Christianity was not entirely crushed, neither can be, by the secular arm.

After the government had, as it fondly supposed, entirely suppressed the hated foreign religion, in order to prevent its return it determined upon the most rigid system of exclusiveness ever practised by any nation. The means of communication with the outer world were all cut off; all ships above a certain size were destroyed, and the building of others large enough to visit foreign lands rigidly prohibited; Japanese were forbidden to travel abroad on pain of death; native shipwrecked sailors who had been driven to other lands were not permitted to return to their own country, lest they should carry the dreaded religion back with them; and all foreigners found on Japanese territory were executed. Over all the empire the most rigid prohibitions of Christianity were posted. The high-sounding text of one of them was as follows: "So long as the sun shall continue to warm the earth, let no Christian be so bold as to come to Japan; and let all know that the King of Spain himself, or the Christians' god, or the great God of all, if He dare violate this command, shall pay for it with His head." These prohibitions could still be seen along the highways as late as 1872.


During this period of exclusion the only means of communication with the outside world was through the Dutch, a small colony of whom were permitted to reside in Nagasaki as a sort of safety-valve and a means of communication with the outside world when such communication became absolutely necessary. They enjoyed the confidence of Japan more than any other nation. These Hollanders were compelled to live on the narrow little island of Desima, in Nagasaki harbor, always under strict surveillance. Ships from Holland were permitted to visit them occasionally, and they carried on a very lucrative trade between the two countries.

The mistake of Catholic Christianity in Japan during the century the history of which we have been reciting was its meddling in politics and getting itself entangled in the internal affairs of the country. If it had avoided politics and been at peace and harmony with itself, it might have enjoyed continued prosperity, and Japan to-day might have been one of the brightest stars in the pope's crown.

While this was, as we firmly believe, a very corrupt form of Christianity, we must remember that it was immeasurably better than any religion Japan had yet known. Although it taught Mariolatry, salvation in part by works, penance, and many other errors, it also taught that there {159} is but one God, and that His Son died for men. It very much improved the morals of its adherents, and purified and exalted their lives.

At the present day very little remains of this century of Christianity besides the few scattered and corrupt congregations found by the Jesuits on their return, the introduction of firearms and a few rude tools, and the infusion of a handful of foreign words into the language. The most important effect of this period is an inborn and inveterate prejudice against and mistrust of Christianity on the part of the people, which to-day hinders much our work of evangelization.




Roman Church

The Roman Church was not discouraged by the fierce persecutions she was called upon to endure during the seventeenth century. Nothing daunted, she continued to send missionaries at intervals during the eighteenth century; but they were thrown into prison or executed as soon as they landed. In order to be in readiness for the opening of the country, which could not be much longer delayed, the pope, in 1846, nominated a bishop and several missionaries to Japan. These men took up their station in the neighboring Liukiu Islands and patiently awaited their opportunity. As soon as the treaties with foreign nations were made, and the country was opened, they at once entered Japan, and resumed the work so rudely interrupted two hundred years before.


A few years later these priests had the joy of discovering in the neighborhood of Nagasaki several Christian communities that had survived the bloody persecutions and had perpetuated their faith for more than two centuries, in spite of the vigilance of the authorities and the rigid prohibitions of Christianity. Left for so long without direction and guidance, bound for the sake of their lives to strictest secrecy, and, above all, not having the Bible to enlighten them, the faith of these communities had become very corrupt. But they still retained a certain knowledge of God, of Jesus Christ, and of the Virgin Mary. The rite of baptism and some prayers also survived.

Of the existence of these Christian communities, and the perpetuation of their faith in secrecy for more than two hundred years, there is not the slightest room for doubt. The persecuting spirit, which had also survived, found large numbers of them in 1867, and more than 4000 who refused to renounce their faith were banished. After six years of exile they were permitted to return to their homes.

The mistake of the Romanists here, as elsewhere, was in not translating the Bible into the vernacular. Xavier and his successors did not give the Word of God to the churches, and hence when the priests all were banished the people were left without any light to guide them. Had {162} they possessed a Japanese Bible, the reopening of the country would have shown us, instead of a few corrupt Christian communities, a vigorous, aggressive native church, only made stronger by persecution. Such was the case in Madagascar, and such probably it would have been in Japan had the people been given the Word of God.

The relative importance of the Bible to the Romanist and the Protestant is well shown in this matter of Bible translation. One of the first efforts of the Protestant Churches in Japan was a translation of the Bible, and an excellent version was prepared and published more than ten years ago. The Roman Church, with more than a century of unprecedented prosperity in former times, and with the same advantages enjoyed by the Protestants in recent years, has not yet published its Bible in Japanese. Some priests and native scholars are now engaged on a translation of the Vulgate, which will doubtless be published soon.

Ever since the opening of the country the Church of Rome has been very earnest and zealous in her efforts to evangelize this land. She has used a great many men, who have labored hard and faithfully, and has expended large sums of money. Her success has not been great, because she has had to contend against fearful odds. The hindrances that have made the progress of {163} Protestant missions in this land very slow have had to be overcome also by Catholicism, besides some other strong militating influences. I will mention two of the most important of these hindrances peculiar to Catholicism.

1. The genius of the Catholic Church is not adapted to Japan. The priority of the spiritual over the temporal ruler, the exaltation of church over state, the allegiance required to a foreign pope, the unqualified obedience to foreign ecclesiastical authority, and numerous other things, come into conflict with the strong national feeling now animating the Japanese, and seem to them to conflict with the great duty of loyalty. The celibacy of the clergy and the rite of extreme unction are also very unpopular. Both Catholicism and Protestantism are regarded as evils, but the former is, on account of its nature and organization, considered the greater.

2. The past history of Catholicism in Japan also militates very much against its progress. The people recognize it as the specific form of Christianity that the government, in former times, felt bound, for the sake of its own safety, to persecute to the death. They cannot forget that, although under great provocation, it dared bare its arm against the imperial Japanese government and inaugurate a bitter rebellion. In their work to-day the priests encounter all of these {164} objections, and must satisfactorily explain them away—a difficult task.

But, notwithstanding, the Roman Church has enjoyed an equal degree of prosperity with the Protestant Churches since the opening of Japan in 1858. The statistics for the year 1895 show 50,302 adherents—about 10,000 more than the Protestants. But the manner of compiling statistics differs so much that these figures do not fairly represent the numerical strength of the two bodies. The Catholics not only count all baptized children, but all nominal adherents; while Protestants count no nominal adherents, and many of the denominations do not even count baptized children. If the same method of compiling statistics were used by both bodies, their numerical strength would probably appear to be about equal.

These 50,302 adherents are comprised in two hundred and fifty congregations. There are one hundred and sixty-nine churches and chapels; one theological seminary, with 46 pupils; two colleges, with 181 pupils; three boarding-schools for girls, with 171 pupils; twenty-six industrial schools, with 764 pupils; and forty-one primary schools, with 2924 pupils.

The Catholic Church throughout the East is noted for its splendid charities. It is doing more to care for the helpless, aged, and infirm than all the Protestant bodies combined. It supports in {165} Japan one hospital for lepers that is exceedingly popular with that unfortunate class. The government has one good leper hospital, but it is said that the lepers much prefer going to the Catholic hospital, because there they are treated so much more kindly and considerately. There are 70 lepers in this Catholic hospital. The Catholic Church has also one hospital for the aged, with 31 inmates; and nineteen orphanages, with 2080 children in them. This large number of charitable institutions supported by the Roman Church makes a strong appeal to the Japanese public and does much toward overcoming the prejudice against her.

The active working force of the Catholic mission, besides the lay members of the native church, consists of 1 archbishop, 3 bishops, 88 European missionaries, 20 native priests, 304 native catechists, 25 European friars, 85 European sisters, and 42 novices. The archbishop and bishops reside respectively in Nagasaki, Osaka, Tokyo, and Hakodate.

Greek Church

The Greek Church has had a flourishing mission in Japan ever since 1871. It is always spoken of here as the "Greek Church" or the "Greek Catholic Church," although it would more properly be called the "Russian Church," {166} as it was founded and is supported by the national church of Russia.

This mission is largely the result of the prodigious labors of one man—Bishop Nicolai Kasatkin. He first came to Japan in 1861 as chaplain to the Russian consulate at Hakodate, but it was his desire and intention from the beginning to do mission work. For some years he was so absorbed in the study of the language that he made no attempt whatever to preach or teach. After he had been in Hakodate several years a Buddhist priest who came to revile him was converted through his influence. This man was the first convert to the Greek Church in Japan, and was baptized in 1866. Three years afterward the second convert, a physician, was baptized.

The zeal of these converts, and Nicolai's own conscience, now incited him to throw his whole life and influence into the cause of a mission in Japan. He was led deeply to regret that he had not done more to make Christ known to the Japanese, instead of giving all his time and attention to scholarship and letters. In 1869 he returned to Russia and began to agitate the founding of a mission in Japan. The Holy Synod gave the desired permission the next year, and appointed Nicolai its first missionary. In 1871 Nicolai returned to Japan and made his headquarters in the capital city, Tokyo. From this {167} time his active missionary work began, and in it he has shown himself a master. Whether in the work of preaching, translating, financiering, building, or what not, he has been director and chief laborer. In 1872 a new priest, Anatoli by name, came out from Russia and ably assisted Nicolai for eighteen years, at the end of which time declining health forced him to return.

Nicolai again returned to Russia in 1879, and was consecrated bishop of the Greek Church in Japan. At this time he began a work which had long been on his heart, viz., the collection of funds for the erection of a fine cathedral in Tokyo. This cathedral was begun in 1884 and completed in 1891. It is a magnificent building, by far the finest ecclesiastical structure in Japan. It stands on an eminence from which it seems to dominate the whole city. The cost of this cathedral was $177,575, silver.

Here one may hear the finest choral music in the empire. Those who believe it to be impossible to train well Japanese voices have but to attend a service at this cathedral to have their ideas changed. A choir of several hundred voices has been trained to sing in perfect harmony, and the music is inspiring. Travelers who have heard the music of the most famous cathedrals and churches of Europe and America say that this will compare favorably with the best. The {168} development of music in the Greek Church of Japan has been marvelous.

The work of this church, while scattered over the whole empire, is chiefly carried on in the cities and larger towns. Like the Roman Church, it refuses fellowship with the various Protestant bodies. Some men of note belong to it, and it is to-day recognized as one of the influential religious bodies.

A notable feature of its work is that it has employed comparatively few foreign missionaries. The burden of the work has been done by Bishop Nicolai and an able body of trained native assistants. At present there are only two foreigners in connection with it, and there have never been at any time more than three or four. While foreign priests have been little used, several of its native priests have been educated abroad.

This church has 21 native priests and 158 unordained catechists. It is now conducting work in two hundred and nineteen stations and outstations. It has one boarding-school for boys, with 47 pupils; one for girls, with 76 pupils; and one theological school, with 18 pupils. The membership at the close of the year 1895 was 22,576, and the amount contributed for all purposes during that year was $4754.95.




During Japan's period of seclusion, when no foreigner dared enter the country upon pain of death, many godly people were praying that God would open the doors, and some mission boards were watching and waiting for an opportunity to send the gospel to the Japanese. When, in the year 1854, treaties were made with Western powers, and it became known that Japan was to be reopened to foreign intercourse, great interest was at once manifested by the friends of missions in the evangelization of this land.

This same year the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America requested one of its missionaries in China to visit Japan and examine into the condition of affairs there, with the purpose of establishing a mission. At this time permanent {170} residence of foreigners was not secured, and it was doubtless for this reason that no progress was made toward the establishment of a mission.

The country was not actually opened to foreign residence until the year 1859, and by the close of that year three Protestant missionary societies, quick to take advantage of the opportunity offered, had their representatives in the field. The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States has the honor of sending the first Protestant missionaries to Japan. It transferred two of its missionaries from China, the Rev. C. M. Williams and the Rev. J. Liggins. Previous to this time a few missionaries had made transient visits from China to Kanagawa and Nagasaki, and found opportunity to teach elementary English; but this work accomplished little.

According to the treaty with England, the four treaty ports of Japan were opened July 1, 1859; according to that with America, July 4th. Mr. Liggins arrived in Nagasaki May 2d, two months before the actual opening of the port; he was joined by Mr. Williams one month later.

On, October 18th of the same year the first missionaries of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Hepburn, arrived at Kanagawa. A fortnight later the Rev. S. R. Brown and D. B. Simmons, M.D., of the Reformed Church in America, reached Nagasaki. {171} The Rev. Dr. G. F. Verbeck, also of the Reformed Church, reached Nagasaki one month later. Thus it will be seen that missionaries were sent here as soon as the country was opened to foreign residence, the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches of America beginning the work almost simultaneously.

The example set by these boards was soon followed by others. The American Baptists began the work in 1860, the American Board (Congregationalist) in 1869, and the American Methodists in 1873. From time to time other boards also sent representatives.

Although the country was now open to foreign residence, it was by no means open to the propagation of the foreign religion. All that the missionaries could do was to study the language and teach English. In this early period many of them found employment in the schools of the various daimios and in those of the national government.

The first years were very trying ones. The missionaries were in imminent danger of their lives; attacks without either provocation or warning were very common. Foreigners, and especially those who wanted to teach the foreign religion, were everywhere bitterly hated. The lordly samurai walked about with two sharp swords stuck into his belt, and his very look was {172} threatening. At their houses and when they walked abroad foreigners had special guards provided them by the government.

Great difficulty was at first experienced by the missionaries in employing teachers, because of the suspicion in which foreigners were held. Those who finally agreed to teach were afterward found to be government spies.

The government was still confessedly hostile to Christianity as late as 1869. Shortly before this time some Roman Catholic Christians who had been found around Nagasaki were torn from their homes and sent away into exile. The sale of Christian books was rigidly prohibited. The prohibitions against Christianity were still posted over all the empire, and were rigidly enforced. If a conversation on religious subjects was begun with a Japanese his hand would involuntarily grasp his throat, indicating the extreme perilousness of such a topic.

The following story shows what native Christians had to endure in some parts of Japan as late as 1871. "Mr. O. H. Gulick, while at Kobé, had a teacher, formerly Dr. Greene's teacher, called Ichikawa Yeinosuke. In the spring of the year named this man and his wife were arrested at dead of night and thrown into prison. He had for some time been an earnest student of the Bible, and had expressed the desire to receive {173} baptism, but had not been baptized. His wife was not then regarded as a Christian. Every effort was made to secure his release; but neither the private requests of the missionaries, nor the kindly offices of the American consul, nor even those of the American minister, availed anything. Even his place of confinement was not known at the time. It was at length learned that he had been confined in Kyoto, and had died there November 25, 1872. His wife was shortly afterward released. She is now a member of the Shinsakurada church in Tokyo."

At this early period no distinction was made between Catholic and Protestant Christianity, and both were alike hated. There was no opportunity to do direct Christian work, and many of the supporters of missions at home were beginning to doubt the expediency of keeping missionaries where they were not permitted to work. Some boards even contemplated recalling their men. But the missionaries were permitted to remain and await their opportunity, which soon came. With the gradual opening of the country, and especially with the dissemination of a knowledge of foreign nations and their faith, the opportunities for work more and more increased and the old prohibitions were less and less enforced.

During the period of forced inactivity the missionaries were busily engaged in a study of the {174} language and in the writing of various useful books and tracts. At first Chinese Bibles and other Christian books were extensively used, the educated classes reading Chinese with facility. The first religious tract published in Japanese appeared in 1867. One of the most important of the literary productions of the missionary body, Dr. J. C. Hepburn's Japanese-English and English-Japanese Dictionary, appeared in this same year. It was a scholarly work, the result of many years of hard, persevering labor. The first edition was speedily exhausted, and a second was issued in 1872. The translation of the Holy Scriptures was also begun and gotten well under way in this period. Several separate portions of the Scriptures from time to time appeared. The first was the Gospel of Matthew, translated by the Rev. J. Goble, of the Baptist mission, and published in 1871. Dr. S. R. Brown had previously prepared first drafts of some portions of the New Testament, but unfortunately they were destroyed by fire. Translations of Mark and John, by Drs. Brown and Hepburn, were published in 1872.

This irregular, piecemeal method of translation was not satisfactory; so in order to expedite the work, and to elicit an active interest in it on the part of all the missionaries in the country, a convention on Bible translation was called to meet {175} in Yokohama on September 20, 1872. As a result of this convention the Translation Committee was organized. At first it consisted of Drs. Brown, Hepburn, and Greene. Other names were afterward added. This committee was ably assisted in its work by prominent Japanese Christian scholars. The great undertaking was brought to a successful conclusion in 1880, when an edition of the whole Bible was published in excellent Japanese.

We have anticipated matters somewhat. Let us now go back a few years and take up the thread where we left off. The work of the missionaries for a long time was fruitless, but the day of reaping was near. The first Protestant convert of Japan was baptized in Yokohama by the Rev. Mr. Ballagh, in 1864. Two years later Dr. Verbeck baptized two prominent men in southern Japan. In 1866 Bishop Williams, of the Episcopal Church, baptized one convert. Who can tell the joy of these missionaries when, after so many years of hard work, they were permitted to see these precious fruits? From time to time others were baptized, but for many years accessions were rare. The first church was organized in Yokohama in 1872. It was left to draft its own constitution and church government, and was a very liberal body.

During all this time the prohibitions of {176} Christianity were still posted over all the land, and the government had never officially renounced its policy of persecution. But the infringement of the laws was permitted, and gradually they became a dead letter. Many Japanese of influence and of official position traveled abroad, and learning of the status of Christianity in the countries of the West, and particularly of the attitude of the chief nations of the world toward the persecution of Christians, exerted their influence to have these prohibitions rescinded. Especially did the strong stand taken by some Western governments influence Japan in favor of toleration. Our own Secretary of State in Washington plainly informed the Japanese committee then visiting there that the United States could not regard as a friendly power any nation that persecuted its Christian subjects.

As a result of various influences, the edicts against Christianity were removed from the signboards in 1873. This was an event of the utmost importance to Christian work, for, although the infringement of the edicts had been for some time winked at, their very existence before the eyes of the people had a great deterring effect. The government announced that this action did not signify that the prohibition of Christianity was now abrogated. It declared that the edicts were removed because their subject-matter, {177} having been so long before the eyes of the people, "was sufficiently imprinted on their minds." And yet their removal conveyed the idea to the people at large that liberty of conscience was henceforth to be allowed, and this virtually proved to be so. Persecutions ceased and the work was allowed to go on untrammeled. The object for which the church abroad had waited and prayed, and for which the missionaries on the ground had longed and labored, was at last realized. Joy and hope filled the hearts of the workers. The cause of missions had received a new and powerful impulse, which ere long made itself felt in a wide enlargement of its operations.

The work now went on much more rapidly. Soon a great pro-foreign sentiment sprang up. With the rapid adoption of Western civilization there grew up not only a toleration, but an actual desire for the Western religion. It became rather fashionable to confess Christ. Some statesmen even went so far as to advocate as a matter of policy the adoption of Christianity as the state religion.

In this happy time Christian schools, which had sprung up like mushrooms over all the land, were filled with eager students; the churches and chapels were crowded with interested listeners; and large numbers were annually added to the church.


But the pendulum had swung too far. About 1888 a reaction set in, caused largely by the impatience of the Japanese at the refusal of Western nations to revise the treaties on a basis of equality. A strong nationalism asserted itself. Everything foreign was brought into disrepute. Christianity was frowned upon as a foreign religion, and the old native religions again came into favor. Attendance at Christian schools fell off almost fifty per cent.; the churches and chapels became empty; and few names were added to the church rolls. A sifting process began which very much reduced the membership. When Christianity was popular many had hastily and as a matter of policy joined the churches, who in this time of disfavor fell away. This reactionary feeling has lasted uninterruptedly down to the present, and in recent years the losses numerically have almost equaled the gains. This reaction has in some respects worked good to the churches. The former growth was too rapid. Many unconverted men came into the bosom of the church. Such have fallen away; the church has been pruned of her old dead branches, and is now a livelier, healthier body.

In the judgment of some, this reactionary period is now on the decline. The recent growth and progress of Japan have been recognized by the West; treaty revision on a basis of equality has {179} been granted her, and the cause which brought about the reaction has thus been largely removed. For these reasons we may look for a gradual breaking down of the prejudice and opposition toward foreign institutions and religion, though such a pro-foreign wave as swept the country during the eighties will not probably be experienced again.

In order to give a correct idea of the work now being done by the various missions in Japan, It will be well to give a short sketch of each one separately. We will consider them in the order of their size and influence.

American Board Mission

This mission is conducted by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (organized on an undenominational basis, but now Congregational), and has met with great success. Begun in 1869, it is younger than either the Episcopalian, Reformed, Presbyterian, or Baptist missions, but has exerted a greater influence than any of them. It has for years enjoyed the distinction of having more adherents than any other Christian body at work here. But there has been a large falling off in its membership, and during the past year or so very few new names have been added to its rolls. At the {180} close of 1895 the Church of Christ in Japan (Presbyterian) was only about 62 members behind this body, and by the close of 1896 will in all probability be ahead.

This mission was especially fortunate in reaching a wealthy, influential class of people, which has given it a position and prestige superior to the other missions. In the number of self-supporting native churches it has led all other denominations.

The first missionaries of the American Board to Japan were Dr. and Mrs. Greene. They arrived in Yokohama November 30, 1869, and, with the usual intermissions for rest, have labored here continuously since that time. Three years later the Rev. O. H. Gulick and wife, and the Rev. J. D. Davis and wife, joined the mission. Since that time the number of missionaries has been rapidly increased until now it reaches 74. The membership of the native church is about 11,162. There are 60 ordained native ministers and 54 unordained. There are four boarding-schools for girls, with 863 students. The most advanced of these is the Girls' School of Kobé, with a curriculum as high as that of most female colleges in America. There is also one school for the training of Bible-women.

The chief educational institution of this body is the Doshisha University, in Kyoto. This {181} school is largely the result of the labors of Dr. Neesima, easily the first Christian preacher and teacher Japan has yet produced. It is a large school, beautifully located and well housed. Last year only 320 students were in attendance, a great decline from former years. Unfortunately this institution does not now exert the positive influence for Christianity that it formerly did. Higher criticism and speculative philosophy have largely supplanted Christian teaching. The school is now entirely in the hands of the trustees (all natives), and the mission has no control over it whatever. Recently all of the missionaries of the American Board who were serving as professors in the Doshisha have, because of dissatisfaction with the policy of the school authorities, resigned. The trustees affirm that it is their intention to keep the school strictly Christian, but they refuse to define the term "Christian." Such vital matters as the divinity of Christ and the immortality of the soul are not positively affirmed. The rationalism which has emanated from this school has perhaps done as much in recent years to impede the progress of Christianity as any other one cause. It is very sad to see an institution, built up at great expense by bequests of earnest Christian people, intended by its founder to lead the evangelical Christianity of this country, thus turned aside from its original purpose. {182} We trust that a gradual growth of a deeper Christian consciousness and a more positive faith in the hearts of the trustees and professors may yet lead them to make of this school a positive force for evangelical Christianity.

The mission of the American Board has experienced more trouble in recent years than any other, especially in the attempt properly to adjust the relations between the native and foreign workers, and in the matter of mission property. Most of the valuable property of the mission has passed into native hands, and in some instances has been perverted from its original purpose. The missionaries are regarded with jealousy by many in the native church; they are entirely excluded from the church councils, and are being gradually pushed out of the most important positions, and their places filled with Japanese. It is a question just how far the policy adopted by this mission from the beginning is to blame for this unfortunate state of affairs. This policy has been to push the native workers to the front, to give them the important positions, and to allow them perfect freedom in all church matters. As a consequence, that which was at first granted as a concession is now demanded as a right. As a teacher in one of their own schools has comically put it, the mission said in the beginning—in Japanese phraseology—to the native brethren, {183} "Please honorably condescend to take the first place," and they are just doing what they were bidden to do. Other boards, with a different policy, have fared better. The Episcopal Church of Japan, which is one of the most active, vigorous bodies at work here, is governed by foreign bishops, and nearly all the positions of importance are filled by foreign missionaries, and yet the relations between the native and foreign workers are, on the whole, cordial and harmonious. The Methodist Church is governed by foreign bishops, and nearly all the presiding elders are foreign missionaries, yet complete harmony prevails between the native and the foreign ministry. The Presbyterian Church, with a policy somewhat resembling the Congregational, is encountering the same difficulties in a milder form. These facts seem to indicate that, at least in part, the policy of the mission is itself responsible for the position in which it now finds itself.

But in nearly every mission field, as soon as a strong native church is developed, misunderstandings and friction between the native and foreign workers have arisen. Questions regarding the position of the native church and its relation to the foreign boards and missionaries almost inevitably arise. Therefore what the American Board has encountered may be partially encountered by all as soon as a stronger native church is {184} developed. Perhaps the national characteristics of the people are to some extent responsible also for this trouble and friction.

The Church of Christ in Japan

This body represents an attempt at church union on a large scale. It is composed of all the Presbyterian and Reformed churches working in Japan. These are the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, the Reformed Church in America, the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Reformed Church in the United States, the Presbyterian Church in the United States (South), the Woman's Union Missionary Society, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. All of these bodies are engaged in building up one and the same native church—the Church of Christ in Japan. Yet each has its own field and is doing its own individual work.

The growth and success of this body have been phenomenal. It has 11,100 members, 60 ordained native ministers, 113 unordained catechists, and 146 missionaries. Its leading educational institution is the Meiji Gakuin, in Tokyo, with both an academic and a theological department. This is a large, well-equipped school, with a good faculty.

In connection with this Church of Christ there {185} is a good academic and theological school in Nagasaki, known as Steele College, and supported by the Dutch Reformed and Southern Presbyterian missions. This school is as thoroughly evangelical and positive in its teachings as any to be found in Japan.

There are besides these five boarding-schools for boys, with 376 students, and sixteen boarding-schools for girls, with 795 pupils.

The representatives of the Church of Christ are found throughout the length and breadth of the land and are doing a good work. It is likely that this church will take the lead in the future.

Methodist Churches

There are five branches of the Methodist Church at work, namely, the American Methodist Episcopal, the Canadian Methodist Episcopal, the Evangelical Association of North America, the Methodist Protestant, and the American Methodist Episcopal (South). There is no organic union between these bodies, but harmony and fraternity prevail. Efforts at union have been made time and again, but have been as yet unsuccessful. We hope the future Methodist Church of Japan will be a united body.

At present each one of these different bodies supports its own schools; their efficiency is thus {186} impaired, and great loss of men, time, and money entailed. In the whole Methodist Church there are five boys' boarding-schools, with 329 scholars; sixteen girls' boarding-schools, with 970 scholars; and five theological schools, with 60 students.

There are 143 missionaries, 115 native ministers, 116 catechists, and 7678 members.

The Methodist missions have had a rapid, substantial growth and are exerting a strong influence. They surpass all other bodies in annual contributions per member, and I think it may be said that the native Methodist churches have shown less of self-seeking and more of self-sacrifice than the others. The emotional character of Methodism adapts it to the taste of the people.


The five branches of this church working in Japan are laboring unitedly for the establishment of one native church, called Nippon Sei Kokwai. These five bodies are the American Protestant Episcopal Church, the Church Missionary Society (English), the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (English), the Wyclif College Mission (Canada), and the English Church in Canada. The united body has 149 missionaries, 30 native ministers, 124 unordained helpers, and 5555 communicant members.


This church conducts five boarding-schools for boys, with 169 scholars; eight boarding-schools for girls, with 263 scholars; and four theological schools, with 52 students. This body has done a great deal of hard, substantial work, and has enjoyed a fair degree of the popular favor. During these late reactionary years, when other missions have made little progress, its growth has continued uninterruptedly. The Nippon Sei Kokwai is presided over by five bishops, four of whom are English and one American. Two are located in Tokyo, one in Hokkaido, one in Osaka, and one in Nagasaki.


There are four Baptist societies doing mission work in Japan: the Baptist Missionary Union (United States), the Disciples of Christ, the Christian Church of America, and the Southern Baptist Convention. There is no organic union between them, but the first- and last-named bodies work together. The four bodies unitedly have 92 missionaries, 14 native ministers, 68 native catechists, and 2327 members.

They have one boarding-school for boys, with 14 students; six boarding-schools for girls, with 205 students; and two theological schools, with 21 students.


The Baptist missionaries laboring in Japan are an able, hard-working, evangelical body of men, and there are some good, strong native Baptist ministers.


The Lutheran Church began mission work in Japan only four years ago, and as yet her mission is small. It is supported by the United Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South (United States). The Lutheran Church in the United States has occupied a peculiar position. A large per cent. of the emigrants from the Old World are of Lutheran antecedents. Hundreds of thousands of them have come over and settled in the West, and the energies of the American Lutheran Church have been largely expended in caring for these unhoused and unshepherded sheep of her own flock. It seems that Providence has allotted to her this special work. No other church in America is carrying on home mission work on so large a scale, among so many different nationalities, and in so many languages. Because of the great home mission work that has naturally fallen into her hands and demanded her men and money she has not engaged in foreign work as extensively as some other American bodies.

And yet the American contingent of this old {189} mother church of Protestantism has a foreign-mission record of which she is not ashamed. She has supported for many years a mission on the west coast of Africa, at Muhlenberg, that is by universal consent the most successful mission in West Africa. She is also supporting two large and successful missions in India.

The Lutheran mission in Japan was begun as a venture. The after development of the work has amply justified the wisdom of the undertaking. It is not the purpose of the Lutheran Church to antagonize any of the bodies now at work in Japan, but rather to stand, amid all the doctrinal unrest characteristic of Japanese Christianity, for pure doctrine, as she has always done. It is her purpose to teach a positive, evangelical Christianity.

The working force of the mission consists of 2 missionaries and their wives, 2 native helpers, and 1 Bible-woman. The field occupied is small. There is only one station, and that is in the city of Saga, on the island of Kyushu. Much work is done in the surrounding villages and towns from Saga as a center. It is not the purpose of this mission to use large numbers of men and great quantities of money, as some others have done. It purposes working intensively rather than extensively. It attempts to devote all of its time to evangelistic work, and does not engage in {190} educational work further than theological instruction.

Although the missionaries came to Japan in 1892, the station was not opened until 1893. Since that time about 55 converts have been baptized.

There are numerous small Christian bodies at work, such as the Scandinavian Japan Alliance, the Society of Friends, the International Missionary Alliance, the Hephzibah Faith Missionary Association, and the Salvation Army. There are also three liberal bodies working here, generally classed as unevangelical: the Evangelical Protestant Missionary Society, the Universalist mission, and the Unitarian mission.

The English and American Bible and tract societies have ably seconded these missionary bodies by the circulation of large numbers of Bibles, tracts, and various kinds of Christian books. The value of their work can hardly be estimated. The American Bible Society, the National Bible Society of Scotland, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the American Tract Society, and the London Religious Tract Society have all had a part in the work.

Such is a brief enumeration of the Christian forces at work in Japan. With so large a body of consecrated workers and so much missionary {191} machinery, it seems that the work of evangelization ought to go on rapidly. A great deal has already been accomplished, as the figures given above show. A native church of 40,000 people is no mean prize; but this is only the smallest part of the work of the missions. They have created a Christian literature, disseminated a certain knowledge of the gospel among the people, and in a hundred different ways indirectly influenced the life of this nation. Japanese missions have been a brilliant success.




For mission work, as for every other calling in life, some men are naturally adapted, others are not. Those by nature fitted for the work will in all probability have a reasonable degree of success, while no amount of zeal or spiritual fervor can make successful those not so fitted. It is true to a large extent that missionaries are born, not made.

How important it becomes, then, that mission boards and societies should carefully consider the qualifications of all applicants before they are sent to the mission field! How necessary it is for all those contemplating work in certain fields, before offering their services to the boards, to examine whether their qualifications are such as to justify an expectation of a reasonable degree of success in those fields!

For the benefit of the various missionary {193} societies that are annually choosing and sending out new men to Japan, as well as for the advantage of those who contemplate offering themselves for work in this field, I will put down a few thoughts on the necessary qualifications for successful mission work here.

These may be roughly classified as physical, spiritual, and mental.

PHYSICAL QUALIFICATIONS.—I regard physical qualifications as of supreme importance. Many of my readers will think that the spiritual should precede the physical, but with this opinion I do not agree. Health is absolutely essential to successful work; deep spirituality, while greatly to be desired, is not so essential. Many men have failed on the field and have been forced to withdraw because of a lack of physical qualifications, while few have failed for lack of spiritual qualifications. I think it is true that young men who when in college and seminary appear to be almost consumed with missionary zeal and enthusiasm, who are pointed out as examples in spirituality, and who are burning with a desire to get into the foreign field, do not make as good missionaries as some others. Men who pledge themselves in youth, and who, actuated by a wild enthusiasm, which has more zeal than knowledge, urge themselves upon the mission boards, do not do as good work as those chosen {194} by the boards themselves, who may never have considered seriously foreign work before the call was extended to them. Enthusiasm and zeal are good things in their place, but they are apt to lead men to extremes. People who enter mission work simply because they are filled with a burning enthusiasm and zeal are not likely to stay as long or work as well as those who enter upon the work with more hesitation, after careful deliberation and a counting of the cost.

Wallace Taylor, M.D., of Osaka, Japan, himself an experienced missionary of the American Board, says: "I should advise that men be chosen for their physical and mental adaptation and ability rather than for their burning zeal for the foreign work. To maintain health and be a successful missionary a man must possess more judgment than enthusiasm and more discretion than zeal. Enthusiasm and zeal are good qualities in a missionary, but to these you must add that which is better—judgment, wisdom, and self-control. The burning fire shut up in the bones, that cannot be controlled, only consumes vital energies and speedily produces failing health. We need men who can stand and face the white harvest and the many calls to work, and yet with cool deliberation preserve their strength for future work. We want men sent for their cool deliberation and self-control rather than for their {195} burning zeal and enthusiasm. We need men who are intellect rather than a bundle of nerves. A nervous, excitable, uneasy person will fret and wear himself out in from six months to three years in Japan."

It is desirable, then, in the first place, that the missionary be a sound physical man. No one should be accepted by a mission board for work in Japan who cannot secure a policy in a reliable life-insurance company, and it would be well if the medical examination were made by an examiner for such company. The examinations made by a physician appointed by the mission boards are usually mere farces, for the desire to go as a missionary frequently covers up many physical weaknesses and prevents a thorough examination. The examination should therefore be made by a disinterested medical man, who will not be influenced by such motives.

It seems hard to subject candidates for mission work to such rigid examinations, and perhaps refuse to send them because of some small physical defect; but the interests of the work make it imperative. Otherwise the young missionary will, in all probability, break down and have to go home in three or four years, before he has been able to do any active work. The experiment will have cost the board a large amount of money and a loss of several years, and the {196} missionary some of the best years of his life, probably making of him an incurable invalid. In so serious a matter as this the boards cannot afford to be swayed by sentiment. Nothing but sound business principles should be followed.

The same physical requirements should be made for the woman as for the man. She, too, should be subjected to a medical examination, and any serious defect in her constitution should cause her immediate rejection. It seems hard to subject the wife to this test, as she is not a missionary in the strict sense of the term, and to many the requirement will be distasteful; but for their protection, and for a judicious use of consecrated funds, the boards should require it. A little thought will show that the failure of the wife's health is just as disastrous for the mission as the failure of her husband's. It cripples his efficiency while on the field, and ultimately drives him home. Most boards operating in Japan have not made this requirement, and as a consequence many missionaries' wives are in poor health, and as many men have had to return home because of the failure of their wives' health as for any other one cause.

The mission boards should not appoint too young men to work in Japan. It is well known that young men cannot endure so well as older ones change of climate and hard work. Those {197} who are physically and mentally immature will very probably be unable to bear the strain. In general, no one should be sent out under twenty-five years of age, and it would be safer if all who came had attained the age of thirty. Against this it is argued that a young person will acquire the language more readily than an older one, and this is doubtless true. But health is of first importance.

SPIRITUAL QUALIFICATIONS.—Although I consider spiritual qualifications after physical ones, I nevertheless regard them as of great importance. It is highly desirable that every missionary be a deeply spiritual man, fully consecrated to the cause of Christ. The consecration needed in the missionary is little different from that needed in the home pastor. If he has given himself and all that he has to Christ, he will be ready to work for Him anywhere. Those who come to the mission field without such consecration, expecting the grandeur of the work to beget it, will be bitterly disappointed. In many instances contact with heathenism weakens more than it strengthens consecration. The societies should require that those who are to do spiritual work should be consecrated, spiritual men.

The missionary should be sound in the faith, should clearly discern and readily accept the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and should {198} be able to distinguish between essentials and non-essentials, tenaciously holding to the former, while allowing liberty in regard to the latter. He will encounter many strange things in his new environment; many of his pet theories will be exploded, and he will meet much that will try his faith. His belief in the essentials of Christianity should be so strong that even if his views undergo a change in non-essentials he shall not be shaken at the center. He must be able to defend his faith against its enemies, as well as to impart it to those to whom he is sent. To do this his own hold upon it must be firm and unyielding.

The missionary should have a positive, not a negative, faith. His position should continually be one of offense, not of defense. His faith must be aggressive and dominant in its hold upon others, must be both persuasive and constructive. He must be sure of the faith in which he trusts, and must be positive in his presentation of it to the world.

It is especially important that the missionary's doctrinal development be full and rounded. He should see all the doctrines of the Christian system in their proper relation to one another, and should give due importance to each. A one-sided, eccentric man, who has struck off from the main line of doctrinal development and is on a {199} side-track, having exalted some one phase of the Christian teaching or life to the exclusion of others, is not fitted for mission work. He can be used to better effect at home, because there he is continually under restraining influences, while here there are no restraints. For this reason what would be only a harmless eccentricity at home may result in great mischief abroad. Those who are to found the church in Japan, to shape its theology and its life, should be well-rounded men, who will not unduly exalt any one doctrine, but who, having a comprehensive view of the Christian system, will give due importance to every part.

It is very important that prospective missionaries fully count the cost, and be prepared beforehand to endure patiently the trials and hardships that will be sure to meet them. No one should go out without having carefully considered all of these things, and gained the full consent of his heart to endure them. If the cost has not been counted, and the work willingly entered upon with a full knowledge of its hardships and difficulties, the encounter of these upon the field is apt to result in disappointment and dissatisfaction.

Every missionary should be a lover of humanity, even in its lowest and most degraded forms. It is useless for us to attempt to persuade and influence non-Christian men if we do not love {200} them. The audiences we address may not be moved by our logic or rhetoric; our most eloquent sermons may have no effect on them; but practical illustrations of our love for them will always meet with a hearty response. Love is the key that opens all hearts. "Faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

To love refined Christian men and women is easy, but to love humanity in its more degraded forms is hard. And yet the missionary must be prepared to love an alien race, that regards him with coolness and distrust. He must be ready to associate with lowly people, amid humble and immoral surroundings, and to be patient, kind, and loving to the most degraded. No one who has not lived on the mission field and associated freely with the people knows how hard this is. Such love will win more men to Christ than eloquent preaching or most careful instruction. The man who possesses a large amount of it, other things being equal, will meet with success.

The missionary should, as far as possible, present in his own character all Christian graces. He will be looked upon as a product of the faith he represents, and will exercise more influence by his life than by his words. He must not be impatient, quarrelsome, or wilful, and, above all, he must not be proud. Constant association with an inferior race is apt to beget a haughty, {201} domineering manner, and the missionary needs to be especially on his guard against this. He may present no striking defects of character, else his faith will be held responsible for them. Peculiarities and faults that are known to be merely personal at home are regarded in the mission field as the result of a bad religion.

It is very important that the missionary be an attractive man, possessed of personal magnetism. He should by nature draw men, not repel them. Although hard to define, we all know what this power is. Let a little child come into a room where two men are sitting. It will readily go to the one, but no amount of coaxing will induce it to go to the other. The one possesses an innate power to attract, while the other repels. Where the personal element plays so important a role it is essential that the missionary possess the power to draw men.

MENTAL QUALIFICATIONS.—Hardly less important than physical and spiritual are the mental qualifications. A mediocre man cannot do good work in any mission field, least of all in a field like Japan. None but strong men should be sent out. In former years, when the science of missions was little understood, it was thought a waste to send a man of unusual intellectual endowments, because an ordinary man could do the work just as well; but the boards have wisely {202} abandoned that policy. Experience has clearly demonstrated the wisdom of sending the very best men that can be had.

In the first place, the prospective missionary to Japan should have as complete and thorough a mental training as possible. A full academic and theological course is highly desirable. He should know how to reason logically and profoundly, and should be a skilled dialectician, able to meet the native scholars on their own ground. The subtle philosophies of the East, which he will daily encounter, can only be dealt with by a man thoroughly trained. The atheistic and agnostic philosophies of the West are spread over all Japan, and the missionary must be able to combat them.

Another reason why the missionary should be as highly educated as possible is that large numbers of the Japanese people are highly educated, and a man of poor ability and training cannot command their respect. Education is to-day being diffused more and more throughout Japan, and the missionary must work among an educated people. It is necessary that he feel himself to be at least the intellectual equal of all with whom he comes in contact.

In order, then, successfully to combat the subtle philosophies of the East, to show the fallacies of the prevalent skeptical philosophies of the {203} West, and to command the respect of the people among whom he labors, the missionary to this land should have a thorough intellectual training.

Linguistic talent is another essential, and especially so in Japan. No one should be sent here who is deficient in this. This language is perhaps the most difficult of all spoken languages for an Occidental to acquire. It is so thoroughly unlike any of the European languages that the student must change his view-point and learn to look at things as the Japanese do before he can make much progress. To master it one must study both Japanese and Chinese. While a fair linguist can, by hard work, preach with comparative intelligibility after three years of study, a complete mastery of the language is the work of a lifetime.

If any one contemplating mission work in Japan remembers that he was a poor student of languages at college and made little progress in them, let him feel assured that he can probably serve the Lord better at home. I state this matter strongly because just here is where so many missionaries fail. There are men who have been here ten or fifteen years and yet who experience great difficulty in constructing the smallest sentence in Japanese. Such men are not useless; in certain departments they serve well; {204} but they would probably be of more use at home. At least one third of all the missionaries in Japan, if called upon to make an extempore address in Japanese, would be found wanting. In view of these facts, how important it becomes that only those men be sent out who have a reasonable expectation of learning the language!

Along with natural linguistic talent, the prospective missionary should have a large amount of perseverance. Nothing but persistent, slavish work through many years will enable one to speak Japanese well; and no one should come here who is not willing to stick to an unattractive task until it is accomplished.

It is of primary importance that the missionary have a large endowment of common sense. Nothing else will make up for deficiency in this. It alone gives power to adapt one's self to a new environment and to live under changed conditions. The demands upon common sense here are much greater than at home, because the conditions under which we live are so different, and the practical questions that daily meet us are so numerous. Dr. Lawrence finely says: "At home so much common sense has been organized into custom that we are all largely supported by the general fund, and many men get along with a very slender stock of their own. But on the {205} mission field, where Christian custom is yet in the making, the drafts on common sense would soon overdraw a small account."

A knowledge of music will be found of great assistance to the missionary, the more the better. He will often have to start his own hymns, play the organ, or direct the music. He may have to translate hymns and set them to music, or even compose tunes himself. Good church music is now so essential in worship that every missionary should have a knowledge of it. But this qualification, while highly desirable, is not indispensable.

The missionary also needs to a great degree the power of self-control. He should be a cool, conservative man, able to govern himself under all circumstances. He must not be moved to excessive labor by the present needs of the work, but must exercise self-restraint, husbanding his strength for future tasks. One of the most difficult things to do is to refrain from overwork when the need of work is so apparent. But the missionary must consider the permanent interests of the work ahead of its temporary needs.

To sum up the desired intellectual qualifications: a missionary to Japan should have a good mind, well disciplined by thorough training; an abundant supply of common sense; linguistic ability, and the power of self-control.


There is one other qualification, that can hardly be classed under any of the above heads, i.e., the missionary should be a married man. The vast majority of missionaries in the field to-day are unanimous in this judgment. The experience of the various mission boards and societies also confirms it, and they are sending out fewer single men each year.

Married men make more efficient workers for many reasons. They enjoy better health and are better satisfied. They have a home to which they can go for rest and sympathy, and in which they can find agreeable companionship. They have the loving ministrations of a wife in times of sickness and despondency, and they also have the cheer and relaxation of children's society. All of these things tend to make the missionary healthier and happier, and enable him to do better work.

Again, he should be married because a man of mature years who is single is regarded with more or less suspicion. To the Japanese celibacy is an unnatural state, and it is seldom found. Most unmarried men here are immoral, and therefore the unmarried missionary is naturally suspected of leading an immoral life, which cripples his influence.

But the strongest argument in favor of married as against single missionaries is that the former {207} alone are able to build Christian homes. The homes of single men are very poor things at best, and certainly cannot be pointed to as models. But the married man establishes a Christian home in the midst of his people, and sets them a concrete example of what Christian family life should be. This example is one of the most potent influences for good operating on the mission field.

In home life perhaps more than in any other respect Japanese society is wanting. The renovation of the home is one of the crying needs of the hour. An open Christian home, exhibiting the proper relations between husband and wife, parents and children, will do much toward bringing this about.

This argument is not intended to apply against single women who come out to teach in the girls' schools. Their work is entirely different, and is such as can be done best by single women. The argument applies only to the missionary engaged in evangelistic work.

Such I believe to be the qualifications essential to successful mission work in Japan. To many the requirements may seem too strict. But the work to which the missionary is called is a high and noble one, and the ideal for a worker should be correspondingly high. The extreme difficulty of the work, and its great expense, make it imperative that only men adapted to it be sent out. {208}

While setting forth this high ideal of what a missionary to this land should be, no one is more sensible than the writer of the fact that many missionaries, including himself, fail to realize it. But he is glad to be able to affirm that a large per cent. of these desired qualifications are found in the majority of the missionary brethren in Japan.




It is our purpose in this chapter to show the churches at home something of the life which their missionaries lead in Japan. We will attempt to draw aside the veil and look at their private life—the holy of holies. This is a delicate task, and I hesitate to undertake it. And yet I think a knowledge of the trials, perils, discouragements, temptations, hopes, and fears of the missionary may be very profitable to those who support our missions.

Missionaries are men of like appetites, passions, hopes, and desires with those at home. They long for and enjoy the comforts and amenities of life. They have wives and children whom they love as devotedly, and for whom they desire to provide as comfortable homes, as the pastor at home.

There was a time when missionaries were {210} called upon to forego nearly all social pleasures and submit to endless discomforts, but that time is past. The mission home to-day is frequently as comfortable as that of the pastor in America. It is right that the standard of living in the home lands should be maintained by the missionaries abroad, and that they surround themselves with all available pleasures and conveniences. There is no reason why a man should lay aside all pleasures and comforts so soon as he becomes a missionary.

Those who live in the foreign ports in Japan have nice, roomy houses modeled after Western homes. Many of them are surrounded with beautiful lawns and fine flowers, and are a comfort and delight to their possessors. Most of the missionaries who live in the interior occupy native houses, slightly modified to suit foreign taste. By building chimneys, and substituting glass for paper windows, the native houses can be made quite comfortable, though they are colder in winter and do not look so well as foreign ones. The writer has lived in such a home during most of his residence in Japan, and has suffered little inconvenience. Some of the wealthier mission boards have built foreign houses even in the interior, and to-day there are a good many such scattered over Japan.

As has been before remarked, the mission {211} home is one of the most important factors in connection with the work; it is a little bit of Christendom set down in the midst of heathendom. It presents to the non-Christian masses around it a concrete example of exalted family life, with equality and trust between husband and wife, and mutual love between parents and children—things not generally found in the native home. It is a beacon-light shining in a dark place.

This is one of the many reasons why a missionary should be a married man. The single man cannot create this model home, which is to teach the people by example what Christian family life should be. In this respect Catholic missions are deficient, the celibacy of the priests precluding family life.

First, then, the mission home is an example to the non-Christian people around it. It is frequently open to them, and they can see its workings. They often share its hospitality and sit at its table. Their keen eyes take in everything, and a deep impression is made upon them.

Just here arises one of the greatest difficulties the missionary has to contend with in his private life. The people are so inquisitive naturally, the mission home is so attractive to them, and our idea of the privacy and sanctity of the home is so lacking in their etiquette, that it is hard to keep {212} the home from becoming public. People will come in large numbers at the most unseasonable hours, simply out of curiosity, wanting to see and handle everything in the house. It is often necessary, in self-defense, to refuse them admittance, except at certain hours. Not only are the seclusion and privacy of the home endangered, but the missionary also is in great danger of having his valuable time uselessly frittered away.

Notwithstanding all that the mission home is to the people, it is much more to the missionary. It should be to him a sure retreat and seclusion from the peculiarly trying cares and worries of his work. It should be a place where he can evade the subtle influences of heathenism which creep in at every pore—a safe retreat from the sin and wickedness and vice around it.

The mission home should be a Western home transplanted in the East. It may not become too much orientalized. It should have Western furniture, pictures, musical instruments, etc., and should make its possessor feel that he is in a Western home. It should be well supplied with books and newspapers, and everything else that will help to keep its inmates in touch with the life of the West. The missionary may not be orientalized, else he will be in danger of becoming heathenized.

For the sake of his children the missionary's {213} home should be as exact a reproduction of the Western home as possible. These children are citizens of the West, heirs of its privileges; and to it they will go before they reach years of maturity. Therefore it is but fair that their childhood home should reflect its civilization.

In order that the missionary may be able to build up such a home it is necessary that he be paid a liberal salary. While living in native style is very cheap, living in Western style is perhaps as dear here as in any country in the world. Clothing, furniture, much of the food, etc., must be brought from the West; and we must pay for it not only what the people at home pay, but the cost of carrying it half-way round the world, and the commission of two or three middlemen besides.

Most boards operating in Japan pay their men a liberal salary. They also pay an allowance for each child, health allowance, etc. All this is well. Man is an animal, and, like other animals, he must be well cared for if he is to do his best work. No farmer would expect to get hard work out of a horse that was only half fed, and no mission board can expect to get first-class work out of a missionary who is not liberally supported. The missionary has enough to worry him without having to be anxious about finances.

Especially is it wise that the boards give their {214} men an allowance for children. The expenses incident to a child's coming into the world in the East are very high. The doctor's bill alone amounts frequently to more than $100. Then a nurse is absolutely necessary, there being no relatives and friends to perform this office, as sometimes there are in the West. The birth of a child here means a cash outlay of $150 to $200, to pay which the missionary is often reduced to hard straits. If he belongs to a board that makes a liberal child's allowance he is fortunately relieved from this difficulty.

The allowance is also necessary to provide for the future education of the child. As there are no suitable schools here, children must be sent home to school at an early age. They cannot stay in the parental home and attend school from there, as American children do, but must be from childhood put into a boarding-school, and this takes money. Now no missionaries' salaries are sufficiently large to enable them to lay up much money, and unless there is a child's allowance there will be no money for his education, in which event the missionary must sacrifice his self-respect by asking some school or friends to educate his child. He feels that if any one in the world deserves a salary sufficient to meet all necessary expenses without begging, he does; and it hurts him to give his life in hard service to {215} the church in a foreign land, and then have his children educated on charity.

All mission boards should give their men an allowance for each child, unless the salary paid is sufficiently large to enable them to lay aside a sufficient sum for this very purpose.

The health allowance is also a wise provision because the climate is such as often to necessitate calling in a physician, and doctors' bills are enormously high. If the missionary is not well he cannot work; but if he is left to pay for medical attendance himself out of a very meager salary, all of which is needed by his wife and children, he will frequently deny himself the services of a physician when they are really needed.

The work of the missionary is most trying, and the demands on his health and strength are very exhausting. The petty worries and trials that constantly meet him, the rivalries and quarrels which his converts bring to him for settlement, the care of the churches, anxiety about his family, etc., are a constant strain on his vital force, in order to withstand which it is necessary that he should have regular periods of rest and recreation. Nature demands relaxation, and she must have it, or the health of the worker fails.

It is customary in Japan for the missionaries to leave their fields of work during the summer season and spend six weeks or two months in {216} sanatoria among the mountains or by the seashore. Here their work, with its cares and anxieties, is all laid aside. The best-known sanatoria in Japan are Karuizawa, Arima, Hakone, Sapporo, and Mount Hiezan. In most of these places good accommodations are provided, and the hot weeks can be spent very pleasantly. Large numbers of missionaries gather there, and for a short time the tired, isolated worker can enjoy the society of his own kind; his wife can meet and chat with other housewives; and his children can enjoy the rare pleasure of playing with other children white like themselves. These resorts are cool, the air is pure and invigorating, and the missionary returns from them in September feeling fresh and strong, ready to take up with renewed vigor his arduous labors.

It is objected to these vacations that they take the missionary away from his field of work, and that so long an absence on his part is very injurious to the cause. This is partially true; but a wise economy considers the health of the worker and his future efficiency more than the temporary needs of the work. The absence of the foreign worker for a short period is not as hurtful as one would at first glance suppose. A relatively larger part of the work is left in the hands of the native helpers in Japan than in most mission fields, and these evangelists stay at their posts {217} all through the summer, and care for its interests while the foreigner is away. The same need of a vacation does not exist in their case, because they are accustomed to the climate, and they work through their native tongue and among their own people.

The need of this missionary vacation is so evident that we need only give it in outline. In the first place, the unfavorable climate makes a change and rest desirable. As I have already stated, the climate of Japan is not only very warm, but also contains an excessive amount of moisture and a very small per cent. of ozone, and is lacking in atmospheric magnetism and electricity; hence its effect upon people from the West is depressing. Besides the climate, the missionary's work is so exhaustive and trying, and its demands upon him are so great, that a few weeks' rest are absolutely necessary. The same reasons which at home justify the city pastor in taking a vacation are intensified in the missionary's case.

Not least of these reasons is that the missionary may for a while enjoy congenial society. Many of us spend ten months of the year isolated almost entirely from all people of our own kind. The Japanese are so different that we can have but little social life with them; and it is but natural and right that, for a short period, we should have the opportunity to meet and {218} associate with our fellow-missionaries. The work which we do the remainder of the year is done much better because of this rest and fellowship.

Dr. J. C. Berry, in a paper read before the missionary conference at Osaka in 1883, discusses very fully this question of missionary vacations and furloughs. After elaborating the reasons for them, which reasons I have given in brief above, he says: "It therefore follows that, because of the numerous and complex influences operating to-day to produce nerve-tire in the missionary in Japan, regard for the permanent interests of his work requires that a vacation be taken in summer by those residing in central and southern Japan, the same to be accompanied by as much of recreation and change as circumstances will permit."

With all the care and precaution that can be taken, with systematic rests and vacations, there soon comes a time when it is necessary for the missionary to return to his home land, to breathe again the air of his youth, and to replenish his physical, mental, and moral being. All the mission boards recognize this and permit their men in this and in other fields to return home on furlough after a certain number of years. The definite time required by the different missions before a furlough is granted varies from three to ten years, the latter period being the most general. {219} But this has been found to be too long, and failing health usually compels an earlier return. Some boards have no set time, but a tacit understanding exists that the missionary may go home at the end of six or eight years.

At the end of the prescribed period the missionary family is taken home at the expense of the board, and is given a rest of a year or eighteen months. During this time, if the missionary is engaged in preaching or lecturing for the board, as is generally the case, he is paid his full salary. If he does no work he is sometimes paid only half his salary. This is very hard, as the salary is just large enough to support him and his family, and their expenses while at home are almost as great as while in the field. If the salary is cut down the pleasure and benefit of the furlough are curtailed. If the missionary in the service of the board exhausts his health and strength in an unfavorable climate it seems but fair that he should be properly supported while endeavoring to recuperate. When a church at home votes its pastor a vacation, instead of cutting down his salary during his absence, it is customary to give him an extra sum to enable him to enjoy it. Why should not the same be done for the missionary? He should at least be permitted to draw the full amount of his small salary.

Against these vacations is urged their great {220} expense to the boards, the greater loss to the mission because of the absence of the worker, and the moral effect of frequent returns upon the church at home. All of these objections have weight, but they are far outweighed by the reasons that necessitate the furlough. The accumulated experience of the different boards makes the judgment unanimous that these are necessary. The judgment of competent medical men also confirms the statement. Dr. Taylor said in the Osaka conference: "I am convinced that a missionary's highest interest requires, and the greatest efficiency in his work will be secured by, a return home at stated intervals." Dr. Berry said in the same conference: "The new and strange social conditions under which the missionary is obliged to work; the effects of climate, intensified in many cases by comparative youth; the absence of many of those home comforts and social, intellectual, and religious privileges with which the Christian civilization of to-day so plentifully surrounds life; the home ties, strengthened by youthful affections,—all these combine with present facilities of travel to render it advisable that the young missionary be at liberty to take a comparatively early vacation in his native land."

From an economic standpoint it is wise to grant these furloughs. It is poor economy to keep the workers in the field until they are completely {221} broken down, and then have to replace them by inexperienced men, who will not be able to do the work of the old ones for years. Far wiser is it to let them stop and recuperate in the home lands before this breakdown comes. It costs less money to keep a missionary well than to care for him during a long, unprofitable period of sickness. I quote again on this point Wallace Taylor, M.D., who, in the paper referred to above, said: "The present haphazard, unsystematic methods of most missions and boards is attended with the greatest expense and the poorest returns. Some of the boards working in Japan have lost more time and expended more money in caring for their broken-down missionaries than it would cost to carry out the recommendations herein made. Again, I observe that many who do not break down begin to fail in health after the fourth or fifth year from entering on their work. They remain on the field, and are reluctantly obliged to spend more or less time in partial work, while experiencing physical discomfort and dissatisfaction of mind. Very many of these cases would have accomplished more for the means expended by a furlough home at the close of the fifth or sixth year.... Over $90,000 have been expended in Japan by one mission alone in distracted efforts to regain the health of its missionaries."

These furloughs are also needed to keep the {222} missionary in touch with the life of the home churches. The West is rapidly progressing in civilization, in arts and sciences, and in theology as well. The missionary who spends ten or more years on the field before returning home finds himself in an entirely new atmosphere, with which he is unfamiliar. He looks at things from the standpoint of ten or more years ago; his methods of work, his language, all are belated. In order that he may give to the nascent churches of Japan the very best theology, the very best methods, and the very best life of the Western churches, it is necessary for him to return frequently to breathe in their spirit and life and keep up with their forward march.

For the missionary's personal benefit he should be permitted to come into frequent contact with the home churches. A too long uninterrupted breathing of the poisonous atmosphere of heathenism has a wonderfully cooling effect upon his ardor and zeal, and is trying to his faith. He needs to come into contact with the broader faith and deeper life of the home churches, and receive from them new consecration and devotion to his work.

The church at home needs also to come frequently into contact with its missionaries. Nothing will so stir up interest and zeal in the mission cause as to see and hear its needs from living, {223} active workers, fresh from the field. If missionaries were more frequently employed to represent the cause to the churches at home perhaps our mission treasuries would not be so depleted. Mission addresses from home pastors are abstract and theoretical; those from missionaries are concrete and practical. The former speak from reading, the latter from personal experience. The address of the missionary comes with power because he speaks of what he has seen and felt, and his personality is thrown into it.

For the sake, then, of the work abroad, of the missionary himself, and of the home churches, missionaries should be required to take regular furloughs at stated intervals, and should spend them in the home lands.

How long can the missionary safely work in Japan before taking his first furlough? That will depend upon the nature of the man himself, and the kind of mission work in which he is engaged. The average length of time spent here by the missionaries before the first furlough is about seven years. There are no men more competent to pass judgment upon this matter than Drs. Berry and Taylor, who have spent the better part of their lives here, in the service of the American Board, and who are thoroughly acquainted with the conditions that surround us. Dr. Berry says: "I do not hesitate to affirm that the {224} 'ten-year-or-longer rule,' still adhered to by some missionary societies, and by many missionaries as well, is too long for the first term.... I indorse what in substance has been suggested by my friend Dr. McDonald, viz., that the time of service on the field prior to the first furlough be seven years, and that prior to subsequent furloughs be ten years; this plan to be modified by health, existing conditions of work, home finances, and by individual preferences." Dr. Taylor says: "My observations have led me to the conclusion that the first furlough ought to be taken at the close of the fifth or sixth year, and after that once every eight or ten years."

We have yet to look at the trials and sorrows, the encouragements and joys, of the missionary. We have already looked into the missionary's home; let us now endeavor to look into his heart. If the former is his sanctum, this is his sanctum sanctorum; and I trust my missionary brethren will pardon me for exposing it to the public view.

We will pass by all physical hardships, such as climate, improper food, poor houses, etc. Although these are often greater hardships than the people at home know, they are but "light afflictions" to the missionary. His real trials lie in an entirely different sphere.

The greatest hardship the missionary has to {225} bear is his loneliness and isolation. Separated almost entirely from his own race, he is deprived of all those social joys that are so dear to him. The thought of his kinsmen and friends is ever in his mind, but alas! they are so far away. He must go on year after year living among a people from whom an impassable gulf separates him, leading the same lonely life. For the first year or two he rather enjoys the quiet and privacy, but by and by it becomes almost unendurable. Dr. Edward Lawrence has correctly styled the missionary "an exile." We cannot do better than quote his words: "Very many of the missionary's heaviest burdens are summed up in the one word whose height and breadth and length and depth none knows so well as he—that word 'exile.' It is not merely a physical exile from home and country and all their interests; it is not only an intellectual exile from all that would feed and stimulate the mind; it is yet more—a spiritual exile from the guidance, the instruction, the correction, from the support, the fellowship, the communion of the saints and the church at home. It is an exile as when a man is lowered with a candle into foul places, where the noxious gases threaten to put out his light, yet he must explore it all and find some way to drain off the refuse and let in the sweet air and sun to do their own cleansing work.... The {226} missionary is not only torn away from those social bonds that sustain, or even almost compose, our mental, moral, and spiritual life, but he is forced into closest relations with heathenism, whose evils he abhors, whose power and fascinations, too, he dreads. And when at last he can save his own children only by being bereft of them, he feels himself an exile indeed."

The missionary's life is full of disappointments. Men for whom he has labored and prayed it may be for years, and in whom he has placed implicit confidence, will often bitterly disappoint him in their Christian life. Boys who have been educated on his charity, who are what they are solely by his help, will frequently be guilty of base ingratitude, and, worse yet, will repudiate his teachings. The native church not having generations of Christian ancestry behind it, and not being in a Christian environment, is often, it may be unwittingly, guilty of heathen practices that sorely try the heart of the missionary. The struggle between the new life and the old heathenism is still seen in the church-members and even in the native ministry. Each missionary, if he would be well and cheerful in his work, must learn to cast all burdens of such a character on the Lord, and not be oppressed by them.

One of the greatest trials some of us have to bear is that we must live in an environment so {227} unconducive to personal growth and development There is a great deal of ambition lurking about us still, and we do not like to see our own development cut short because of an unfavorable environment, while our friends and classmates at home, who were no more than our equals in former days, far surpass us in intellectual development and in influence and power. Perhaps a missionary should be above such thoughts and should be perfectly content with a life of obscurity and partial development; but missionaries are still men, and to many an ambitious one the limits placed upon his personal development are very irksome.

But why are the conditions unfavorable to high personal development? Because those stimulants to prolonged, vigorous effort that exist in the West are lacking. The stimulus of competition, the contact of thinking minds, so necessary to enlist the full exercise of a man's powers, are largely wanting. One is shut up to his own thoughts and to those he gets from books, and his development, in so far as it does proceed, is very apt to be one-sided. This is the reason why so many missionaries are narrow, unable to see a subject in all its relations and to give due importance to each.

The work of the missionary from beginning to end is one of self-sacrifice and self-effacement. {228} There is no future for him in the councils of the native church. As the work grows and extends he must gradually take a back seat. As the native ministry develops, the foreign minister is less and less needed, and must gradually withdraw.

Again, the home land, father and mother, brothers and sisters, friends and companions, are just as dear to the missionary as to any one else. Yet it seems inevitable that he will gradually grow away from them and be forgotten by them. Prolonged absence brings forgetfulness; diverse labors and interests put people out of sympathy with one another. When the new missionary first comes out to his field, communication between him and friends is frequent. Letters pass regularly, little remembrances are sent from time to time, and he is still in touch with his friends at home. But by and by a change comes. After one or two years exchange of presents and remembrances ceases; gradually the letters cease also, and none come except those from his immediate family. Even these become less and less frequent. The arrival of the mails, which at first was looked forward to with so much joy, is now scarcely noted. An old American gentleman who has spent some forty years in the East tells me that he now receives from the home land not more than two or three letters per year. {229} After a few years of residence here one feels that he is largely out of touch with the life of the West, and that he is forgotten, by home and friends.

It seems to me that churches and friends can do much toward preventing this, and toward brightening the lives of their missionaries, if they will. Let pastors and friends throughout the church take special pains to write interesting personal letters to the missionary. It will do him good just to be remembered in this way. It is natural that the same kindness, attention, and love that are shown to the home pastor should not be shown to the missionary, because he is so far away and the strong personal element is wanting. But if the churches would make an effort to share their kindness and beneficence between the home pastor and the foreign one it would be highly appreciated by the latter.

Especially does this seem but fair in a case where a church supports its own missionary and where most of its members are personally acquainted with him. Such churches speak of having two pastors; one at home ministering to them, and one abroad, in their stead, preaching the gospel to the heathen. Why should not these pastors have equal place in their hearts and receive equally their kindness and their gifts? If any preference is shown, it would seem that it should {230} be to the foreign pastor, for he has much the harder work. But the foreign pastor is generally forgotten, while the home pastor, with whom living is much cheaper, is paid a larger salary; he is given a vacation, and a purse to enable him to spend it pleasantly; at Christmas he is substantially remembered, and all through the year he is presented with numerous gifts and shown many favors. The poor lonely missionary is paid a moderate salary and is given no further thought. Imagine the feelings of a man in a mission field, supported by one church which always speaks of him as its foreign pastor, as he takes up a church paper and reads of the favors shown the home pastor; among them such items as "a nice purse of fifty dollars," "a three months' leave of absence, and expenses to ——." He cannot help thinking with a sigh of that unpaid doctor's bill of fifty dollars incurred by his wife's ill health last summer, or of the money needed to send his boy home to be educated.

A church should try to remember its pastor abroad as well as the one at home. The home pastor himself could see to it that this is done. If he should simply say, when handed a present for some purpose, "Our foreign pastor has not been remembered by us, and he needs it more than I, therefore we will send this to him," the result would probably be that he and the foreign {231} pastor would both be remembered. If little expressions of appreciation and kindness, such as this, were occasionally shown the missionaries, it would do much to brighten and cheer their hard lives. These are little things, but the little things have much to do with our happiness.

If the missionary life has its sorrows and disappointments, it has its pleasures and joys as well. It is with great pleasure that I turn from the dark to the bright side of our lives.

First I would mention that sweet peace and joy that come from the consciousness of doing one's duty. The true missionary feels that God has called him into the work, and that he is fulfilling the divine will. This knowledge brings with it much pleasure. The joy is all the sweeter because of the sacrifices that must be undergone in answer to the divine call. He feels not only that he is in the field by the call of God, but also that God is with him in his work, leading, guiding, blessing, helping him. He hears the words of his Master, "Lo, I am with you alway," and he gladly responds, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy." The brooding Spirit of God is especially near the Christian worker in foreign lands, and imparts to him much joy and peace.

Another of the missionary's joys is to see the gospel gradually taking hold of the hearts of the people and renewing and transforming them. It {232} is passing pleasant to tell the gospel story, so full of hope and joy, to these people whose religious ideas and aspirations are only dark and gloomy. Who could desire sweeter joy than to watch the transforming power of the gospel in the heart of some poor heathen, changing him from an idol-worshiping, immoral creature into a pure, consistent Christian? It is the good fortune of the missionary to see such changes taking place in the people to whom he ministers. And what a change it is! For gloom and dejection it gives joy and hope; for blind, irresistible fate it gives a loving providence. The change is so great that every feature of the face expresses it.

Lastly, the crown of the missionary's life is to see a strong, vigorous native church springing up around him, the direct result of his labors; to see it gradually and silently spreading itself throughout the whole nation as the leaven through the meal, permeating every form of its life and impressing itself upon every phase of its character. To this native church he confidently looks for the evangelization of the masses and the accomplishment of all that for which he has labored so long and so earnestly. When the missionary can look upon such a native church with the feeling that it will be faithful to its Lord and do His work; when he can sit in its pews and hear soul-nourishing gospel sermons from his {233} own pupils, now grown strong in the Lord—then indeed his cup of joy is full. The trials and sorrows that were endured in connection with the work are all forgotten, and his only emotion is one of glad thanksgiving.

In some lands many missionaries have already received this crown to their labors; it has been partially received in Japan, and if we are but faithful to our trust shall yet be received in all lands.




Missionaries attempt in various ways to evangelize the nations to which they are sent. The extent and variety of the work which the missionary is called upon to perform are much greater than the people at home are apt to think. He must be at the same time a preacher, a teacher, a translator, a financier, a judge, an author, an editor, an architect, a musician. The great variety of the work necessitates a well-rounded man.

All of these offices are, in an indirect sense, ways of doing mission work; but we will here confine ourselves to the consideration of the more direct and positive methods in vogue in Japan. These are direct evangelization, educational work, literary work, and medical work.

Direct Evangelization

By this I mean the actual propagation of the gospel, by word of mouth, to the people to whom {235} we are sent. I mention this first because I regard it as the most important of all methods. The supreme vocation of the missionary is, not to educate, not to heal, but to preach the gospel. It is well for mission boards and missionaries to remember this, for there is danger in many places of making this primary method secondary to education. While it is probably true that the evangelization of the masses will depend ultimately upon the efforts of the native ministry, this should not therefore be construed to mean that the foreign missionary has nothing to do with this department of the work. He should personally engage in this evangelistic work, should himself come into actual contact with the unevangelized masses, and should proclaim the gospel directly to them. In this way only can he understand thoroughly the nature of the work in which he is engaged, and be enabled to sympathize with and advise his evangelists. He should not only train native evangelists, but should be an evangelist himself, teaching his helpers, by earnest, zealous example as well as by precept, right methods of the proclamation of the gospel. Such work must also bear direct fruit in the conversion of souls; for even in this land, in spite of the great nationalism and strong prejudice against foreigners, a foreigner will draw larger congregations and be listened to with more attention than {236} a native. And this is not simply because of curiosity; the people have more confidence in his ability properly to represent the foreign religion. For these reasons, then, viz., for the sake of the souls he may win, for the sake of the example he may set to his helpers, and for his own sake, that he may rightly understand and appreciate the work, every missionary should, as far as possible, be an evangelist. This is emphasized here because in many places the evangelistic work is in danger of being subordinated to the educational, and missionaries are not lacking who take the strange ground that it is neither necessary nor profitable for the missionary personally to come into contact with the unevangelized masses. This seems to me to be a very mistaken view of the sphere of the foreign worker. He should not only train helpers, support and advise them, but he should also go with them among the people and preach to them himself.

The direct propagation of the gospel may be either local or itinerating. The missionary may reside in one place, have a fixed chapel, and there teach all who come to him; or he may go on long tours through the country, preaching from town to town and from village to village. In general these methods are combined in Japan. The missionary is located in one town and to the work there gives most of his attention; but he {237} also at stated intervals visits the surrounding towns and country, doing evangelistic work wherever he can.

LOCAL EVANGELISM.—For obvious reasons, local evangelistic work yields the greatest returns. To it the missionary gives his constant care and attention, while his visits to the country are only periodical. Local evangelistic work in Japan is carried on somewhat in the following manner:

A house, as centrally located in the town as possible, is rented and fitted up as a chapel. The only furnishings needed are a small table and some lamps. Japanese houses are so constructed that the whole wall on the street side can be removed, and people standing in the street can see and hear all that is going on within. In this new chapel, one or two evenings a week, the gospel will be preached. In China there is preaching in such chapels every day, but in Japan the people will not come oftener than once or twice a week. In all probability both the missionary and the native evangelist will preach the same evening, one after the other. At first very few people will come into the house, but numbers will congregate in the street and will listen to what is said. After the service is over an opportunity is given for personal conversation on religious topics. By and by a little interest is manifested, and some begin to come into the house. A great {238} deal has been gained when people will go so far as to come up into the Christian chapel, in plain view of the multitudes, and hear the sermon.

In many cases the native evangelist lives in the chapel (in the same building, but occupying different rooms) and daily meets and talks with people about religion. In this way he hears of those who are interested, and he and the missionary visit such in their homes and converse privately with them. In my own mission, as soon as any are interested, they are organized into a catechetical class, which meets weekly, and are thoroughly instructed in Luther's Small Catechism. But I find that unless this is preceded by more elementary instruction this excellent little manual will not be well understood. Real inquirers are glad to come and study the catechism and the Bible, and they study them well. Some of the most satisfactory work I have done in Japan has been along the line of catechetical instruction. Some of the larger missions working here have not been sufficiently careful about giving their converts sound elementary instruction in Christian doctrine, but have left them to gather all the necessary knowledge from the sermons they hear and the instruction given in the Sunday-schools. One of the desiderata of most missions in Japan is more systematic catechetical instruction.

Among the first things a missionary does in {239} beginning work in a town is to open a Sunday-school. The children are generally more accessible than the older people, and many of them will come to the school. They cannot at first be organized into classes, as their interest is not sufficiently great to induce them to attend regularly and to study. The first instruction is usually by means of large Bible pictures that catch the eye and teach a religious truth. By and by, when the work becomes more substantial and the interest more developed, the pupils can be organized into classes and more systematic instruction given. If there are any Christians in connection with the chapel their children form the backbone of the Sunday-school.

A considerable part of the time of the missionary doing local evangelistic work, if he is wise, will be occupied in house-to-house visitation. The Japanese are a very social people, and it is wonderful how a little personal kindness and interest in them will break down the prejudice against us and our work. As a rule, the missionary who goes into a native home with humility, simplicity, and love will gain the good will of the whole household. Men feel freer to talk about religious subjects in the privacy of their own homes. In a discourse to a promiscuous audience the truth is scattered broadcast, and each one catches what he can; but in a private {240} conversation in the home the truth especially adapted to the hearer can be given. It is like a man trying to fill a bottle with water; he will get it full much quicker by taking it up in his hand and pouring the water into it than by throwing a whole bowlful at it from a distance.

It is a very pleasant experience to enter a friendly home in the evening, to sit around the social hibachi (fire-box), sip tea, and talk about the great questions of time and eternity. One is generally received with cordiality and made to feel at home. He is listened to attentively and respectfully, and the questions asked are intelligent, appreciative ones. If the missionary expects his host immediately to be convinced by his eloquence, to agree to all he says, to discard at once his old religion and embrace the new, he will be disappointed. But if he is content to seek an opportunity to present the truth under most favorable circumstances, leaving it to do its own work silently and gradually, he will be sure to find it.

House-to-house visitation and personal talks with the people are of great importance in local evangelistic work. But in doing such work great care should be taken to comply strictly with Japanese etiquette and rules of propriety, and especially to avoid a haughty bearing. The ordinary native home is much smaller, simpler, {241} and frequently dirtier, than the missionary's, and the people are constantly watching for any recognition of this fact on his part. He should carefully guard himself against any look or expression which might imply his superiority, or his dissatisfaction with things around him.

I have been both amused and pained by overhearing Japanese imitate the sayings and actions of two visiting missionaries. According to the imitation, the one bears himself haughtily and proudly; as soon as he comes near the door he instinctively draws back as though fearing bad odors; when he comes in he bows stiffly, seats himself on the best mat, carefully draws up his clothes as though fearing contamination, casts a scornful look at the bare walls, utters a few commonplace sentiments, and hastily departs. The other one comes with a cheery greeting, a smiling countenance, and a humble demeanor. He never notices the lowly house and bare walls, but quietly and unconcernedly takes the place assigned him, freely and appreciatively partakes of the tea and cakes set before him, and kindly and sympathetically talks with the people as one of them. It is very evident which one of these two will do the most good.

As soon as the work grows and a small company of believers has been gathered the duties of the missionary increase. There now rests upon {242} him that burden which so oppressed Paul—the care of the churches. He must look after the regular worship of the church, must develop in his people a church-going sentiment, and must instruct them in the observance of all Christian duties. In this work he will need much patience, wisdom, and zeal. The native converts, not having generations of Christian ancestors as we have, will need oft to be exhorted, oft rebuked, and loved much. Christian duties that are with us almost habitual must be urged upon these people time and again. The church must be organized and developed into an harmonious working body. In all of this the missionary is fortunate if he has the assistance of a wise, godly native helper.

Perhaps the most attractive and interesting feature of all mission work is this forming and molding, under one's own hand, of the theology, the life, and the activities of a young church. The one who is privileged to do this occupies a position of responsibility than which none could be greater. May God give us grace to do it aright.

ITINERATING EVANGELISM.—No true missionary living in a non-Christian land will confine his labors to the town in which he resides. His heart will be constantly yearning over the people in the surrounding towns and country, and he will gladly take advantage of every opportunity {243} to make them occasional visits, telling to them also the old, old story.

But there are other workers whose sole business it is to visit these outlying points and carry a knowledge of the gospel to those who cannot have regular gospel ministrations. Perhaps this feature of missionary work is the one most prominent in the minds of the people at home, who are fond of picturing their missionary as a man who goes about from town to town and from village to village, proclaiming the gospel to all who will hear.

Christianity is by nature diffusive. It spreads itself as naturally as the leaven spreads in the meal. Confucius taught: "The philosopher need not go about to proclaim his doctrines; if he has the truth the people will come to him." In striking contrast to this Christ taught: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." We are not only to teach those who come to us, but we are also to go out in search of hearers, to carry our message to the people.

When our Saviour was upon earth the work He did was largely itinerating; going about from place to place, teaching in the synagogue, by the wayside, or on the sea-shore. The disciples were all itinerating evangelists, carrying their message from city to city and from land to land. {244} St. Paul was an itinerating missionary on a large scale. Not content to abide long in any one place, but looking out continually to the regions beyond, his life was one ceaseless activity in itinerating evangelism. The missionaries through whom northern Europe and England were converted were itinerants. And those who to-day in mission fields take their valises well stocked with tracts and sermons and go out into the country on long evangelistic tours can feel that they are following in the footsteps of worthy exemplars.

We can hardly overestimate the importance of this work. The word of mouth is still the most effective means of conveying a message to the masses, and a knowledge of Christian principles that could else hardly be given is in this way spread abroad throughout the land.


The facilities for itinerating in Japan are excellent. Most of the important points are easily reached by rail or water. But in general, on an itinerating tour, the missionary has little use for the steamers and railways. The points he wants to visit are not on the great thoroughfares, but are in out-of-the-way places. There is, however, a good system of roads, and the jinrikisha, which is everywhere found, is easily capable of carrying one 40 or 50 miles a day. This little cart resembles a buggy, except that it has only two wheels and is much smaller. The seat is {245} just large enough to accommodate one person. A small Japanese coolie between the shafts furnishes all the necessary motive power. These are very convenient and comfortable little conveyances, and are the ones in ordinary use by missionaries in their itinerating work.

In recent years the bicycle has become popular for this purpose. As the "wheel" has been made to serve almost every other interest, it is but fair that it should also serve the gospel. Perhaps to-day one half of all the male missionaries in Japan ride wheels. They have decided advantages over the jinrikisha, chiefly in the way of speed, personal comfort, and pleasure. I wish my readers could see their representatives in Japan just starting on their wheels for a tour in the interior. Dressed in negligée shirts, caps, and knickerbockers, with a large bundle tied upon the wheel in front of each one, they present a comical appearance. Many sermons have been preached in Japan in negligée shirts and knickerbockers.

There are nice, clean little inns in all the villages and towns, and the missionary is not put to such straits for a place in which to rest and sleep as he is sometimes in other mission fields. But as the food offered him is unpalatable to most foreigners, he carries with him a few things, such as bread, canned meats, and condensed milk.


The splendid telegraph system extending over all Japan keeps him in communication with his family and friends, no matter where he may go, and he need not hesitate to go into the interior on that score. A good daily mail system is also at hand to carry his letters.

Formerly the greatest hindrance to itinerating in Japan was the difficulty of obtaining passports to travel in the interior. No one was permitted to go outside of certain limits without a special passport, and such passports were only given for two purposes: for health, and for scientific observation. The government did not intend by this restriction to prohibit mission work in the interior, but aimed simply to prohibit foreigners from engaging in interior trade. As the missionaries were not going for purposes of trade, many of them availed themselves of these passports; but there were some whose consciences would not permit them so to do. Several high officials were directly spoken to about the matter by missionaries; and they replied that, in the eyes of the law, a man could want to travel for only three purposes: for health, for trade, or for scientific observation. As this restriction was simply to prevent foreigners from engaging in interior trade, and as the missionaries were not going for that purpose, they were told that they should go on with their work. The government knew well {247} the purpose for which they were going, and permitted it; hence their consciences might be at rest. These explanations on the part of the officials removed the difficulty in the minds of some, but not of all. Fortunately, since the revision of the treaties, passports are granted without any question as to the purpose for which they are wanted, and all who ask it are freely given permission to travel where they will. Since this restriction has been removed more itinerating is being done, and it is probable that it will still increase.

The missionary does two kinds of itinerating in Japan: (1) he visits periodically a large number of outstations, where are native evangelists; (2) he goes into regions where there are no evangelists and heralds the gospel.

Itinerating among stations where native workers are located and regular work kept up is by far the most frequent. These tours are generally made about every two or three months, one missionary visiting perhaps a dozen stations. The local evangelist makes all preparations for the meetings, which are generally of a special character. There will probably be a special preaching service for non-believers, and a communion service with the Christians. If there are any baptisms the sacrament is then administered. The visit of the missionary is intended to be as much a stimulus and encouragement to the evangelist {248} as anything else. These men, living in out-of-the-way places where there are few, if any, Christians, are apt to get despondent and discouraged, and they need occasionally the sympathy and advice of a fellow-worker. The missionary who has charge of this kind of work is a sort of bishop, with an extended parish.

When fields where no regular work is carried on are visited the work is necessarily different. In this case the missionary must take his helper with him. He seldom goes alone, for various reasons. When on one of these tours he will spend one or two days in a village, talking personally with all who will come to him. Very likely he will rent a room in the inn in which he is stopping, and he and his helper will there preach one or two evenings. Sometimes, if the weather is good, he obtains permission of the authorities to hold the meeting in the open air, and preaches on the street or in the public squares. Wherever an audience can be gathered the message is told. After one or two days spent in this manner they move on to the next town, and there do as they did before, thus going their whole round. The most that is accomplished by this method of preaching is to spread abroad a general knowledge of Christianity among the people and break down their prejudice against it. Not many conversions result from it.


Some may ask what kind of sermons one preaches on these itinerating tours. They should be of the plainest, simplest character. It is profitable to consume a good deal of time in disproving the false ideas which prevail concerning Christianity, and in giving the people correct views of its nature. The nature of God must be carefully explained, both because the word we use for God is in Japanese applicable to an earthly hero as well as to a divine being, and because the divinities of Japan differ very much in nature from the Christian conception of God. One can preach a long time on sin before getting the people properly to understand it. The Japanese are really without any sense of sin, and have no word in their language to express the idea exactly. We use the word which means crime or offense against the laws of the land. Then the old story of Christ simply told always commands a hearing everywhere.

The kind of itinerating last described is open to serious objection. It is uncertain and fitful. One visit may be made to a town each year, or some years not even one. No provision is made for carrying on the work, or for keeping alive any interest that may have been aroused. To be made very profitable such itinerating should be regular and systematic; the visits should not be too far apart; and as soon as some inquirers are {250} found, a native evangelist should be stationed there to care for them. When conducted in this way it is conducive of great good.

Educational Work

The educational department of mission work has in recent years been coming more and more into prominence. This feature of the work attracts the attention of the visitor from the home lands more than any other, because it makes more show. The imposing buildings that are erected, and the large number of students that can be gathered into them, make a favorable impression.

Educational work is generally more attractive than evangelistic. The former is regular, while the latter is desultory. The former is continuous, occupying one's time and attention every day; the latter is intermittent. The former can be pursued at home, and the missionary can enjoy the constant society of his family; the latter takes him away from his family and occupies him abroad. Educational work is usually carried on in the open ports and large cities, where one enjoys all the conveniences of life, with sympathetic society; evangelistic work takes the missionary into the interior, where there are few conveniences and no society. Lastly, educational work is more {251} or less welcomed by the natives, while evangelistic work is unwelcome.

Japan possesses a large number of mission schools. Their imposing buildings are seen in almost every city of the empire. Every mission of large size has its schools for both boys and girls. The annual support of these schools costs the various boards more money than all the evangelistic work that is done in Japan. More missionaries are engaged in educational than in evangelistic work.

A certain amount of educational work seems necessary to the success of every mission. First in importance is theological training. A body of well-trained native pastors is absolutely essential. Especially in this land, where there are many educated people and where all forms of rationalism and skepticism are rife, is it necessary that the evangelist have a liberal education, that he be well rooted and grounded in Christian doctrine, and able to answer the philosophical objections to Christianity that meet him on every side. An educated ministry is just as necessary in Japan as it is in the West, and the schools that are providing such a ministry are doing a good work.

But some of the methods used by them are open to criticism. Heretofore most theological training has been in the English language, and {252} the language alone has taken up a great deal of the student's time and strength. And again, very few Japanese young men gain a sufficient knowledge of English to appreciate or derive full benefit from a theological course in that language. Against this is urged the paucity of Christian literature in Japanese, and the wide field of religious thought which a knowledge of the English language opens to the student. This is very true; but if the same amount of time and energy that has been expended in instruction in English had been given to the creation of a native Christian literature the evil would not exist. I am glad to note that recently nearly all the theological schools have introduced courses in the vernacular for those who cannot take the English course. It would be well if the English course were dispensed with entirely and all instruction were given in the vernacular.

Many of the missions operating in Japan have sent worthy young men to America and England for theological training. In nearly every instance this has proved an unwise investment. The good people at home take up these young men and nurse and pet them until they are completely spoiled. They come back to Japan unfitted by taste and education for the position they must occupy and the work they must do. Most of them become dissatisfied in the work after a few {253} years. Foreign education largely denationalizes them and removes them from the sympathies of their own people. Of course there have been some exceptions to this rule; but, in general, experience has proved that locally trained evangelists are best suited for the work and give most satisfaction in it.

By this it is not intended to imply that Japanese pastors and teachers should not have the advantages offered by the Western seminaries when they desire them and are able to obtain them for themselves. They are as capable of receiving advanced instruction as we are, and have the same right to it. But the money which foreign boards spend for training evangelists should be spent in the field.

Besides the theological schools there are large numbers of academical schools for young men, in which a great deal of mission money is spent. In justification of these it is argued that they are necessary for the preparatory training of evangelists. It is said that the education of these future pastors of the church should be Christian from the beginning, and this is true. But more than half the evangelists now laboring in Japan have not received such training. The education they received from government and private schools answers very well in their case. Actual experience has proved that, whatever may be the {254} aim of these academies, as a matter of fact they do not train evangelists. Most of the men who take their full course enter other professions. One of the oldest missions in Japan, employing about twenty evangelists, has among them only one man who has taken the full academical course in its mission college; but many men have been educated at the church's expense for other professions.

Again, it is said in justification of these academies and their large expenditure of mission money that a Christian education must be provided for the children of the constituency of the mission. The church provides a Christian education for her sons and daughters at home; why should she not do it for her wards abroad? Far be it from me to attempt to minimize the importance of Christian education; but will it not be time enough for such education when the constituency of the native church feels its need to such an extent that it will demand this education itself, support the schools with its money, and send its sons and daughters to them? At present even the Christian people frequently prefer a government school to a mission school; and they often send their children to the latter, when they do send them, because they will there be given financial aid.

There was a time when Christian schools did a good work in Japan. Before the government {255} schools were brought up to their present standard the mission schools were well patronized, and they considerably benefited the cause of missions. But to-day the government has schools of every grade, and frequently they are better than the mission schools. The students who formerly flocked to the mission schools now flock to those of the government, and the former have but few pupils. The times have changed, and these large, expensive schools are now hardly needed. In so far as they are needed for the preparatory training of a native ministry, and can be made to serve that end, they may be all right, but certainly as an evangelizing agency they are not justified. The native church should be encouraged and stimulated to educate its own children; it might even be assisted in the attempt, when it has shown an honest effort to do this; but its children should not be educated for it by the mission free of charge. To spend so large an amount of the people's money in purely secular education seems to me a misappropriation of funds.

More than half the mission schools in Japan are boarding-schools for girls. Nearly all the unmarried women engaged in mission work are in these schools, and there are many of them. Some of these schools have very fine locations and buildings, about as good as those of the average {256} girls' college at home. That they are more popular and better patronized than those for boys is because the government does not provide for the higher education of girls as it does for boys.

The purpose of these girls' boarding-schools is to train up earnest Christian women, who will be the wives and mothers of the new Japan. It is said that if the mothers of the nation are made Christian the evangelization of the whole people will speedily follow. This purpose is a worthy one. Most of the girls who enter these mission schools become Christians, and the training given them seems to be good. I recently attended the closing exercises of one of the largest of these, and was surprised at the progress made by the girls. They could paint and draw, and recite classical music as well as the young ladies of the seminaries at home; and I have no doubt that the graduates leave the schools pure-minded, earnest Christians, with worthy aims and aspirations, and with a full intention to exert their influence for God and His church.

But alas! when they go back to their homes the position Japanese etiquette assigns them so effectually ties their hands that the results are bitterly disappointing. I will mention one case which came under my own observation. A young lady was educated by a mission school in a certain city, who was noted for her piety and {257} earnest Christian spirit. Her teachers had most extravagant hopes as to the strong positive influence she would exert for Christianity. After her graduation she spent several years in the same school as a teacher, and her Christian life was broadened and deepened by longer and more intimate contact with the foreign teachers. She finally married and removed to her new home, in a distant city. There she attended church once or twice and then stopped entirely. Neither the urgent personal request of the native pastor nor the oft-repeated invitation of the Christian congregation could induce her to come any more. Instead of exerting an influence for good upon others she herself became a fit subject for mission work. I have known several cases of this kind, and all missionaries have had the same experience. Social conditions in Japan are such that a girl marrying into a non-Christian home can exert little Christian influence.

But admitting for the moment the utility of this Christian training for the girls, these large schools are open to serious objections on other grounds. The course is too long, and the instruction given too advanced. In many of these schools the girls are kept for twelve or fourteen years. During all this time they are more or less supported by mission funds, even down to pin-money. They are taught all kinds of abstract {258} sciences and advanced ideas that can be of no possible use to them. Latin and Greek, biology, geology, psychology, and many other things are taught them that they neither need nor can appreciate. Painting, drawing, vocal and instrumental music form a prominent part of the curriculum. Girls are made to practise on the piano for ten years or more who will in all probability never see a piano after they leave school. Of course these are not the only subjects taught; more useful ones are taught as well.

If mission schools for the education of girls should exist at all the instruction should be much more elementary and practical. A course of two or three years, teaching them how wisely to fill their position as wives and mothers, would amply suffice.

It is claimed by the Japanese with great reason that these schools unfit the girls for the sphere they must occupy in after life. A life of ten, twelve, or fourteen years in constant association with foreign teachers, in a foreign building, with all necessaries and conveniences supplied, pursuing a pleasant course of study, does not fit the pupil for life in her humble home. No wonder she loves the school and dreads to see the day approaching when she must leave it. Having lived so long under much better circumstances, her home, with its thatched roof, narrow walls, {259} and homely duties, becomes distasteful to her. Of what use now are her music and painting, her Latin and Greek, when her time must be spent in boiling rice and mending old, worn-out clothes? There is such a thing as educating people above their sphere in life, and such education is more hurtful than otherwise.

But it is said, "We are training future Bible-women who will go out and teach the gospel to their country-women." In reply to this it can be answered that not a great many graduates of girls' schools become Bible-women; and it is the experience of nearly every missionary that the best Bible-women are middle-aged women, who may never have been in a mission school.

Again, it is said that it is worth while to have these schools if only to train educated Christian wives for the native evangelists. But many of the evangelists, even among those who themselves have received a more or less foreign training, prefer wives who have never been in a mission school, saying that these girls who have lived so long under better surroundings will not be contented and happy in the homes they can provide. It is also true that many of the young ladies who graduate from these schools object to marrying at all, feeling that they have been unfitted for the life they would have to lead.

A very serious objection to the present {260} educational method in use by many missions in Japan is that it hinders self-support in the native churches. These large foreign plants, with their costly appliances, can never be supported by the native churches, and the evident futility of the effort so discourages them that they will not even do what they can. The day when the churches of Japan can become self-supporting is very much postponed by the existence of these costly schools. At present the native churches could hardly keep the school buildings in repair.

The whole work of missions in Japan was in the beginning projected on too high a plane. To many it seems a great mistake that such large and costly buildings were erected and the schools started on a foreign basis. Should not the buildings have been entirely of native architecture from the beginning, and the educational work projected on a plane corresponding to Japanese life? If small wooden houses, with straw roofs and no furniture, are good enough for these people to live in and to transact all kinds of business in, then they are good enough for them to study in and to worship God in. If from the very beginning the schools and churches had been built on a plane corresponding with ordinary Japanese houses and life the day would much sooner have come when the Japanese themselves could undertake their support. When, in the providence of {261} God, the native church shall have been sufficiently developed, materially and spiritually, to undertake the education of her children and the training of her own pastors, the manner in which she will do it will be very different from that in which it is now done by the mission boards.

I am aware that many missionaries in Japan, for whose opinions I have all respect, will not agree with these views. But, after most careful thought and investigation, the above are the conclusions to which I have arrived; and I am glad to know that my views are shared by many of my fellow-missionaries. It is my sincere conviction that most of the money now being used for educational purposes in Japan is misapplied, and would yield far greater results if used in other ways.

Literary Work

One of the most important and fruitful branches of missionary work is the literary. The creation of a sound Christian literature is one of the first and most imperative duties pressing upon the missionary to the heathen.

This is an exceedingly difficult task. When we think of how much labor and how many precious lives our own Christian literature has cost us, we begin to have some conception of the immensity of the task of creating a Christian {262} literature in a heathen land. In the first place, the missionary must have a complete mastery of the language,—in Japan an appalling task,—and then he must create the terms to express so many ideas. Many of our Christian ideas have no counterpart in non-Christian lands, and the very words to express them must be coined. A common device is to take words of kindred meaning and to make them serve the purpose, endeavoring to attach our own meaning to them by gradual processes of instruction and use. Thus with the words for God and sin in use by most missions in Japan. These words are kami and tsumi. Now kami is the word used for numerous mythological divinities, with natures very different from our God, and is also applied to the ancient heroes of Japan. As it expresses the idea better than any other word we have, we use it for God; but we must be careful always to explain the sense in which we use it. The word tsumi means crime, or offense against the laws of the land. Our idea of sin is lacking in the Japanese mind, and hence there is no word that exactly expresses it. We take the word tsumi as being nearest it, and endeavor to impart to it our own meaning. In this way we have not only to translate the ideas, but also to coin or modify the words to express them.

This work of the missionary is very different {263} from that of translating English books into a European language which has a circle of ideas similar to our own, for there the words are found ready-made to express the ideas.

Generally the first literary work to be done by missionaries is the translation and publication of portions of Scripture and of tracts. As soon as their knowledge of the language is sufficiently advanced, they translate the whole Bible and some good hymns. Then follow apologetical and evidential works, and treatises on theology and morality. Afterward biographical and devotional books, magazines, and Christian newspapers are published. We cannot overestimate the value of a good Christian newspaper. It will carry gospel truth to people whom the missionary and the native evangelist cannot reach, and it will help much to nourish and strengthen the life of the native converts. In such a paper the latter will probably see their religion set forth in all its relations to the questions of practical life in a way they seldom hear it done in sermons. I think parish papers, which are becoming so common at home, would also exert a splendid influence in Japan.

In this field a considerable Christian literature has already been created. Among the most important books translated so far might be mentioned the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, {264} Luther's Small Catechism, the Heidelberg Catechism, Bynyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." A considerable number of books on apologetical, evidential, dogmatic, and historical theology have been published, besides biographical, ethical, and devotional books. There are also several Christian newspapers, and recently the missionaries of the American Board have begun the publication of a Christian magazine.

A Christian literature which will be a powerful auxiliary to our work is at present forming rapidly in Japan.

Medical Work

Medical work is one of the youngest departments of missionary labor. Christ healed the body as well as the soul, and it is peculiarly fitting that the missionary be able to heal the body likewise. Medical missions have done more in some countries toward breaking down the prejudice against Christianity than any other one thing. Doors effectually closed to the evangelist have been opened wide to the doctor. The power for good of a consecrated physician in many mission fields is boundless. The mission boards have fully recognized this fact, and have wisely used large numbers of medical missionaries.

In former times medical missionaries accomplished much good in Japan. They helped greatly {265} to break down the prejudice and opposition to Christianity. Many who came to the hospitals to have their bodies healed went away having their ears filled with words from the great Physician, and their hearts moved by the kindness and love of these Christian doctors. Not only was much direct mission work accomplished in this way, but the principles of physiology and medicine were also taught to large numbers of native physicians and students. Among the men who did most in this work were Drs. Hepburn, Berry, and Taylor.

Although they have accomplished much good, medical missions are no longer needed in Japan. The Japanese themselves have become adepts in medical science, and especially in surgery. Every town and city has one or more hospitals where competent medical consultation and treatment can be had, and these now occupy the position formerly filled only partially by the mission hospitals. A few hospitals and dispensaries are still kept in operation by some missions, but most of them were years ago dispensed with as no longer profitable. We rejoice that Japan has so far progressed as to be well able to care for the health of her own people, and we adapt ourselves to the changed circumstances, diverting into more fruitful channels the energies formerly expended in this way.




Many of the hindrances that oppose the progress of Christianity in Japan have already been indirectly suggested in other portions of this book. But that they may be more clearly apprehended by the friends of missions at home, and that the effect of their militating influence may be fully felt, we will endeavor in this chapter to arrange them in order and show just how they oppose our work. For the sake of clearness and logical order we will consider the subject under two divisions: 1. Hindrances in Japan common to all mission fields; 2. Hindrances peculiar to Japan.

1. There are certain things inherent in the very nature of Christianity that impede her progress. They are necessities of her being, and cannot be gotten rid of. These things may be either a part of Christianity herself, belonging to her nature, {267} or they may be necessary results of her acceptance by non-Christian peoples. For this reason they are encountered wherever the gospel is propagated; they are common hindrances to the advance of our faith alike in China, India, Africa, and Japan.

Although not peculiar to Japan, it seems to me wise briefly to refer to these universal hindrances, because often they are not realized in their full force and power either by the people of our home churches or even by our pastors. To appreciate fully their militating influence one must go to the mission field, and there observe them actually hindering the rapid progress of evangelization. There they are seen in a new light, and are impressed upon the mind as they can hardly be otherwise. If I can succeed in causing the constituency of the churches at home to realize the number, magnitude, and power of these hindrances I will have done good service for the cause of missions.

As the first one of these universal militating influences, inherent in the very nature of missions, opposing the progress of Christianity wherever its teachings are newly propagated, I would mention its revolutionizing tendency. Christian missions are in their nature revolutionizing. The result is inevitable and unavoidable. The advance of Christianity in a heathen land {268} necessitates the revolutionizing of many institutions that have obtained for centuries. Not only must the religious ideas undergo a revolution, but all moral ideas, and manners and customs as well. The reasons for this are very evident.

Religion is intimately connected with the life of man. It furnishes the motive power of his life, controls his actions, creates his morality, determines his manners and customs, and shapes his laws. The ethnic religions are just as intimately interwoven with the lives of their adherents as Christianity is with the lives of Christians; and Buddhism, Confucianism, and Brahmanism have shaped and determined the lives and actions of their adherents.

The connection between religion and morality is a necessary and indissoluble one. The two are united in their growth and development, and the form of morality is necessarily colored by the dominant religion. Wherever the Buddhist faith has been accepted there has sprung up a system of morality peculiar to it; so that we speak of a Buddhistic in opposition to a Christian morality. This morality is dependent upon the religion, and a change of religion must bring about a change of morality.

Christianity, having necessarily developed a morality in accord with its principles, must, as it advances, destroy the existing systems and create {269} widely different ones. While the better element in heathen nations has more or less outgrown its religious ideas and superstitions, and can calmly contemplate a change of religion, yet its moral system has a stronger hold, and anything which antagonizes it is severely condemned. This necessary revolutionizing of moral ideas very much opposes the progress of Christianity.

The acceptance of Christianity necessitates also a revolution in manners and customs. These are partially an expression of the faith that is in us, their nature being determined by it. A change of religion, therefore, means a change in all of these.

People have great respect for time-honored customs, and that which antagonizes these brings upon itself condemnation. Christianity changes the manners and customs, and therefore the people do all they can to oppose it.

In these ways the work of missions is revolutionizing, and must expect to encounter the opposition of the spirit of conservatism, which is much stronger in the East than in the West.

A second principle inherent in the very nature of Christianity which hinders its progress in heathen lands is its exclusiveness. Our religion is among the most intolerant in its attitude toward other faiths. We believe and teach that "there is none other name under heaven given among {270} men, whereby we must be saved," than the name of Christ. While acknowledging that other religions contain grains of truth, we must affirm that, as religious systems, they are false. Christ sent forth His apostles to make disciples of all, winning them to the Christian faith. And the aim of the church to-day is, not to cultivate brotherly love and communion with other religions, but rather to exterminate them and make Christians of all. She can brook no rival. Her adherents must give their allegiance to her alone.

Christianity not only claims to be the only religion, but she can offer no hope to those outside of her pale. While the Bible does not demand that I teach the Japanese that their ancestors are surely lost, it certainly gives me no ground for assuring them of their salvation. We all revere our forefathers, but none so much as the Oriental. He pays periodical visits to the tombs of his ancestors; he worships his father and commemorates the day of his death by mourning. A heaven from which his ancestors are excluded has little attractions for him. Often does the Shintoist say, "I would rather be in hell with my ancestors than in heaven without them."

If Christianity could be less exclusive and more tolerant of other faiths she would find a much more ready acceptance at the hands of non-Christian peoples. But she cannot be so and be true {271} to her own nature and mission. In ancient Rome, when the church was called to pass through fire, the manifestation of a more tolerant spirit would have saved her from that awful persecution. The Romans had many gods and did not object to one more. They adopted those of all the conquered peoples, and were ready to adopt the Christians', and erect an altar to Him, if the Christians would acknowledge Him as simply one among the other gods. And from that day to this the exclusive claims of Christianity have brought upon her trials and persecutions, and have hindered her progress throughout the earth. Especially is this religious exclusiveness unpopular in Japan, because there the native religions are very tolerant of one another.

These are some of the strongest hindrances to the rapid progress of Christianity in pagan lands. They belong to the very nature of our faith, and cannot be avoided. Their antagonizing influence is encountered wherever the gospel is preached.

2. But I think that the greatest hindrances to mission work in Japan to-day are those which are peculiar to this field. Many circumstances conspire to make Japan stand alone among mission fields. She has been pronounced at once the most promising and the most difficult of all fields for evangelistic work: the most promising because of the life, force, and ability of her people; the {272} most difficult because of the host of peculiar hindrances under which the evangelist must labor there. I will proceed to point out some of these.

(1) Perhaps the most potent at present is the extreme nationalistic feeling, which has brought into disrepute everything of foreign origin. The Christian religion, being a foreign institution, is therefore unpopular, and is thought to be less adapted to the people and less liable to nourish a strong national feeling than the native Shinto.

It is hard for us to realize the fanatical intensity of their patriotism. Having been taught for so many centuries that this is the first virtue, the people have exalted it above everything else. "Japan first, forever, and always," is the universal motto. There is hardly a man, woman, or child in the empire to-day who would not be perfectly willing to lay down his life for the good of the country.

This extreme patriotism operates in several ways to hinder the progress of Christianity. It prevents the ready acceptance of the new religion. There are a great many so ignorant and inconsistent as to hate Christianity just because it is of foreign origin, thinking that nothing good can originate outside of Japan. Such people adhere to the native religion, in spite of its inferiority, simply because they think that to do so is patriotic. But there is a much larger and more {273} influential class that is led to antagonize Christianity from patriotic motives other than this. They hold that a belief in the native religions is necessary to preserve their darling patriotic spirit, and that the adoption of any foreign religion would gradually destroy all patriotism and loyalty. Christianity is not national, but cosmopolitan. It teaches the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, both of which great ideas are repugnant to most Japanese, because they do not harmonize with their ideas of the divine origin of the imperial family, and their national superiority to the other races of the world. They want a religion which exalts Japan above everything and inculcates patriotism and loyalty to her alone.

But the most hurtful influence of this extreme nationalism is felt within the pale of the church herself. Actuated by it, many of the native Christians, both clerical and lay, want to do away with everything foreign in connection with the churches. The more strictly national they can make their work the better satisfied are they. Not only do they antagonize the missionary and try to push him off the field, but they also antagonize foreign theology, and want to build up a native system with no foreign taint. The result is great friction between the native and foreign workers, strained relations, and in many instances {274} open antagonism. This want of cordiality and harmony, for which the national feeling is largely responsible, is very hurtful to the best interests of our work.

But the desire for a purely native theology, which this strong, benighted patriotism begets, is even more hurtful than its sowing seeds of discord among the workers. Many of the leading native ministers and laymen say that it is folly for their churches to perpetuate the theological divisions and creeds of the West, and they propose to develop a theology peculiarly their own. Now Christianity cannot be kept pure and sound without paying due regard to its historical development; and the Japanese, in cutting loose from this, have already run into heresy. The danger is that a Christianity may be developed which is lacking in all that is distinctively Christian, and which will be harder to overcome than the old heathenism.

(2) Another hindrance which has operated with great power throughout the whole history of Protestant missions in Japan is the past record of Christianity. In a former chapter upon the "First Introduction of Christianity" I have told how Christianity was first introduced, how it grew to magnificent proportions, and how finally it was crushed by the secular arm. The fact that the government once felt constrained to extirpate {275} Christianity, at whatever cost, and especially the fact that the Christians dared oppose the government, have brought our religion into disrepute. Since, according to native morality, whatever government does is right and whatever government opposes is wrong, the mere fact of this opposition on the part of the government is enough to condemn Christianity in the eyes of many. Then the fact that the Christians at last rebelled gives color to the idea already formed that Christianity is disloyal to Japan. That idea prevails widely, and in many quarters Christians are regarded with suspicion.

A memory of the past bitter persecutions and of the hated rebellion still lingers. The old people talk of them around the hibachi, as they sip their tea and smoke their pipes; the young read of them in the histories, and thus their memory is kept alive. Many are still living who saw and read the rigid prohibitions of Christianity on the sign-boards over all the country, and they cannot forget them. There are not a few people in the empire who to this day have hardly learned that the changed attitude of the government toward Christianity is more than outward; and these still regard the foreign faith as the chief of all evils. It is really pathetic sometimes to hear them talk of it. There was an old man living near a Christian chapel not far from here, who one day was {276} complaining of his woes and wishing to die. He said it had been a bad year, and none of his crops had done well, two of his children had died, his country had been insulted by a foreign power, and, to cap the climax, Christianity had come and taken up its abode next door to him. This last evil was too much, and he wanted to die. He still regarded our faith as the worst of evils. I once gave a few tracts to some old men in a mountain village near Saga, and they remarked that they remembered the time when it would have meant certain death to be seen with one of those little books.

(3) The character of the education prevalent in Japan to-day is also antagonistic to Christianity. The Japanese are a studious race and are capable of high mental development. The country is so well supplied with schools—nearly all of them government institutions—that no one is too poor to receive some education. There is, on the part of the school authorities, no open antagonism to Christianity as such. According to the regulations, no one religion is to be favored more than another in the schools, and complete religious liberty is to be allowed. But the general tenor of the education given is unchristian—an exaltation of reason above faith, of science above religion. Especially is the tendency of the higher education against any form of religion. The {277} educators of Japan are training a nation of atheists and agnostics. The scientific schools of the West that have no room for religion are studied earnestly and copied by educated Japan. In philosophy Herbert Spencer and his school have been acknowledged masters. Indeed, it never seems to have occurred to the minds of thinking Japanese that there are systems of philosophy other than the materialistic. All religious sentiment is crushed in the schools, other things being substituted. Science, learning, is thought to be all that is necessary, and religion is left for old women and children. Men who still believe in religion are thought superstitious and uneducated, and are regarded with a sort of lordly contempt. In a conversation some time ago with a graduate of the Imperial University I was dogmatically told that Christianity was acknowledged to be absurd by all thinking men everywhere, that all religions are only for the infancy of the race, and that full-grown men can dispense with them. This man's views are the usual product of the higher education, of Japan to-day. Hence it happens that few students of the higher schools are Christian, and frequently men go there with Christian sentiments, only to lose them before they leave.

(4) The old religions of Japan strongly oppose the march of Christianity. Men often speak as though the old heathen faiths had lost their power {278} and were no longer really believed. Their power is on the wane, but they lack much of being dead. They still possess enough vitality strongly to oppose the evangelization of this land. The old Shinto faith, having the decided advantage of national origin, and fitting in exactly with Japanese ideas of their relative national importance and the nature of their emperor, is a strong opposing influence. Buddhism still possesses a strong hold upon the masses of the people. It has the recommendation of age, has played a prominent part in the national history, and is dear to the hearts of the people. It occupies a decided vantage-ground from which it opposes us and our work. To some in the West it seems almost incredible that these people should really believe and trust in these faiths. And yet be assured that they do believe and trust in them. There are about the same sincerity, the same confidence, and the same faith placed in Buddhism by its adherents as are placed in Christianity by its. The religious cravings and instincts of the people are, on the whole, satisfied by their native religions.

The opposition of Buddhism to Christianity does not consist solely in misrepresentation, nor is it founded on ignorance, but is an intelligent opposition. Some of the Buddhist priests study carefully our language for the purpose of reading {279} our theology and informing themselves as to our faith. It is said that one of the very best collections of books of Christian evidences and apologetics to be found in all Japan is in the Buddhist library in Kyoto. Buddhism has learned some useful lessons from Christianity. She is now learning the value of stated preaching for the information of her people in Buddhist doctrine, and the value of organized, systematic effort. A Young Men's Buddhist Association has been formed, after the model of the Young Men's Christian Association, which is doing much toward holding the young men to the Buddhist faith. Buddhism is on the alert, is quick and active, antagonizes us at every turn, and is one of the very strongest hindrances to the progress of Christianity.

(5) The social ostracism visited upon those who become Christians very much hinders our progress. Most of our converts, unless their relatives and friends are Christians, are ostracized; in many cases they are entirely cut off from their families and are disinherited. In America, when one becomes a Christian, he has the encouragement and sympathy of all good people, and his family and friends rejoice with him. In Japan for a member of a family to become a Christian is considered a disgrace, and the united influence of family and friends is powerfully exerted to prevent such a {280} calamity. Influential men in our city have told me that perhaps the greatest hindrance to my work is that by becoming a Christian a man shuts himself off from his family and friends. I am convinced that many would take a stand for Christ much more readily if the home influence were not so antagonistic. A student in the Normal School of our city, who came to me for many months to study Christianity, told me that his family bitterly hated the Christian religion, and that he could not return home if he became a believer. In spite of this he was led by the Spirit to ask for baptism, and I baptized him. Afterward he wrote very dutiful letters to his home, trying to explain that he felt impelled by duty to take this step, and that Christianity was not so heinous a thing as they supposed; but no answers came. In course of time, being compelled to return to his own town on business, he went to his home to spend the night; but his mother and brothers would not recognize him, and he had to go away to a hotel. His father was dead, and his mother tried to disinherit him, but was by the law prevented. His family and friends have never forgiven him, and now he never sees them. Similar cases could be cited without number proving the same thing. Is it not natural, then, for a man to hesitate to take this step?


(6) Another obstacle to the progress of missions in Japan is that the church is too much divided. Almost every small religious body known has felt it incumbent upon itself to undertake work here. It may be true that denominations working separately are no hindrance to the cause of Christ in the home field, but I think they are surely a hindrance in the foreign work. It is a fine rhetorical figure to liken the various denominations and sects to different divisions of one vast army, all engaged under the same general, in the same work; but the figure does not represent the facts. We do not have one vast Christian army, each division occupying only its own field, directed by one mind, and moving in unison. The most optimistic cannot so regard the different denominations and sects of Christendom. Like other oft-used figures, this one is entirely at variance with the facts. Oftener is it true that these sects oppose one another, and much prefer their own welfare to that of the whole body of Christ.

You cannot satisfactorily explain to non-Christian people the reasons why you must have a Lutheran, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, and a Baptist church; and if they could be brought to understand our differences this would in no way recommend us or our creed to them. It is a great pity that each mission field is not allotted to some one denomination and left alone by all {282} the others. If this cannot be, at least only one body should work in one town. Then these complications would be partially avoided, and Christianity would more recommend itself to the thoughtful citizen.

We suffer in Japan more from a superfluity of sects than of denominations. The Universalists and Unitarians are here with their heresies, and are poisoning many minds. Many other bodies are here, antagonizing the established order of things and teaching religious anarchy. I suppose there is no mission field in the world that has a larger number of sects and divisions.

But the regular orthodox denominations work more harmoniously in Japan than in the home lands. Strifes and jealousies between them are rare, while expressions of mutual appreciation and of Christian courtesy are common.

(7) I think the foreign communities in the open ports of Japan are a hindrance to the work of evangelization. In the seven treaty ports there are regular concessions for foreign residence and trade, and thousands of foreigners live in them. These communities are largely composed of merchants and of those connected with the various consulates, most of whom have come here for purposes of gain, and are interested in nothing besides money-getting. A large per cent. of this population is very undesirable. As representatives {283} of Western civilization (the product of Christianity) the foreign settlements should be model Christian communities, and were they such they could exert a powerful influence for good. But as it is, their example does not recommend itself to the Japanese.

To say nothing whatever of the charges of immorality and dissoluteness preferred against these men, they are certainly not Christians. One would think, to observe them, that they had not come from Christian lands at all. Many who are here only temporarily, being away from all home influences and restraints, set a most ungodly example. They will not attend church; they take no interest in religious work; they speak disparagingly of religion in general, and of the Christian religion in particular; and to them a missionary is an eyesore. While we are laboring to Christianize the people, our own countrymen, the representatives of Christian lands and the exponents of a Christian civilization, are in the foreign ports setting a most ungodly example. The natives are quick to notice these things, and they reason that, if our faith is as good as we represent it to be, why have our countrymen not profited better by it? The presence of these antichristian representatives of Christendom is a great hindrance.

But not all of the foreigners in the open ports {284} of Japan are of this character. There are some good Christian men and women among the business classes, who are interested in all kinds of Christian work. And yet the prevailing tendency of the foreign business communities is against Christian work.

(8) The last but not the least hindrance I will mention is the language. It has been said of both Chinese and Japanese that they were invented by the devil to keep Christian missionaries from speaking freely with the natives. Whether that be true or not, it certainly is true that Japanese is one of the most difficult languages on the globe. To know it well, three different languages must be acquired: spoken Japanese, written Japanese, and Chinese. The colloquial and the book language are quite different, the literary being partly Chinese. The latter is written by ideographs, and you must have a sign for each idea. About five thousand of these characters will enable one to get along, although there are probably fifty thousand in all. By a sheer act of memory to learn five thousand hideous characters is no little task. The colloquial itself is exceedingly difficult to use aright. My readers may be surprised to learn that of the missionaries laboring in Japan one third cannot speak the language intelligibly to the natives. It seems that many Occidentals, laboring never so hard, really cannot {285} acquire the language. One never feels sure in this language that he is saying just what he wants to say. If it were less difficult, so that missionaries could acquire complete command of it and use it as readily as they do their mother tongue, the work of evangelization would go on more rapidly.

These, as I understand them, are the principal things which at present hinder the progress of Christianity in Japan. Some of them are inherent in the very nature of the work, and will be encountered to the end. Others, I believe, are transient, and will by and by pass away.




In the broad sphere of labor which the missionary must fill he daily meets most difficult problems, whose solution requires the exercise of consummate judgment, skill, and patience. Although these problems are not given a prominent place in mission reports, and are not therefore very well known at home, they loom up mountain-high before every missionary. They have a practical importance in the field surpassed by none other. Men differ so widely in regard to their solution that they not infrequently work division in a mission.

A brief presentation of some of these problems will enable the home churches better to understand our work and to sympathize with us, and will be of practical worth to those who contemplate coming to work in this field.

The first problem to meet the missionary is, how to deal with inquirers.


In Japan not one in three at first comes with sincere motives and good intentions. On the contrary, he comes seeking some material advantage, hoping in some way to profit by his association with the missionary, or vaguely expecting to be benefited by an alliance with what appears to be a stronger and more living cause. Those who from the first are impelled to come by real spiritual motives are indeed rare. How to deal with such inquirers is the question. To turn them away would be to send them back into heathenism. Manifestly we must hold them until they have more spiritual motives.

I suppose all missionaries would agree that, no matter how material and selfish their motives, inquirers should be encouraged to continue coming, with the hope of gradually leading them into the truth. We could hardly expect them at first to have pure motives, as such are practically unknown to them. Heathenism, with its degrading idolatries and immoralities, does not beget these, and we cannot expect to discover them until the old religions have been discarded and the inquirers have been brought under the instruction and care of the church. Therefore, whatever the motive, we should receive them, and after a long period of Christian teaching and discipline look for a change of heart. But the length of this probation before they are received {288} into the church, and whether it shall be required—those are matters upon which the practice of missions differs widely. Some have a prescribed time which must elapse before candidates are admitted to membership; others leave it to the judgment of the local evangelist or missionary. The latter seems the better plan.

Another question is, Just how much shall candidates for church-membership be required to give up? As to strictly heathen practices, such as idolatry and gross immorality, there can be no question. But what of practices about which the judgment of men differs? Some missions require total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks. Some, like the Methodist, require abstinence from the use of tobacco, especially on the part of pastors and evangelists. These churches urge in favor of their position the comparative ease with which such restrictions may be applied in the young churches of Japan. Shall we follow the lead of these more conservative churches, or shall we adopt a more liberal policy? Shall we require converts who are engaged in any way in the manufacture or sale of tobacco or liquor to change their business? The practice of our own mission (the Lutheran) is, except in the manufacture, sale, or inordinate use of intoxicants, to allow liberty of conscience.


Another and a very perplexing problem we find to be, what to do with honest inquirers who have no means of support. This class is numerous. There are a great many poor in Japan—in fact, nearly all are poor. As Japanese custom—even more in ancient times than at present—made the poorer classes look to the rich for their maintenance and support, many converts look to the missionary, not to support them outright, but to help them into positions where they can earn a living. Not a few have their means of support cut off by the very act of becoming Christians. In such cases it seems but fair that the mission should do what it can to assist them. But how? To support them is too expensive, besides being demoralizing to them and the community. In some mission fields industrial schools, mission farms, and various other enterprises are established to provide employment for such, and in this way they are helped to support themselves. But in a country like Japan, where industrial and commercial life is highly organized and developed, it is almost impossible for the missions to do such work. We have neither the means nor the skill to compete with the industries around us. This question of support for the poor of the churches is a pressing one, and causes the missionary much anxiety and thought. The native church can do {290} much more toward its solution than the missionary, and as the church grows in influence and resources the problem may solve itself.

After a body of converts has been gathered, and the time has come for organizing a church, the greatest problem of all arises—the problem of the native church.

This is not one problem, but is rather a combination of problems, some of which are the following: What shall be the form of its organization? How shall its ministry be supplied? How shall it be supported? What is the relation of the missionary to the native church? What shall be its attitude toward national customs? These are important and difficult problems, and on their right solution will depend in no small measure the prosperity and success of the native church.

Some missions do not seem thoroughly to grasp and give due prominence to this idea of the native church. They interpret their commission to mean the evangelization of the masses rather than the building up of a strong native church. But the Christianization of any land will ultimately depend upon the native church, and not upon the foreign missionary. Therefore the first and chief aim of the missionary should be to call out and develop a strong, self-supporting, and self-propagating native church, in whose hands the {291} evangelization of the masses of the people can ultimately be left.

In the organization of the native church, what polity shall be given it? Shall it be organized exactly as the home church which the mission represents, or shall it be free to develop its own form of organization? Both of these plans are unsatisfactory. Most churches are agreed that no special form of church polity has divine sanction, this being merely a question of expediency; and that therefore the new churches should, as far as possible, be left free to adopt a constitution in harmony with the national character and habits.

At the same time, forms of church government that have been tried at home and approved should not be ignored. What has stood the test of time, and proved its worth in many lands, doubtless will in its main features be of substantial value in the mission field. It is but natural that Presbyterian societies should organize native churches under their own form of government, Methodist under theirs, and Episcopal under theirs. But, in the very nature of the case, a first organization will only be tentative. As the church develops it will probably develop a polity of its own. In view of this, the polity imposed upon the native church by the mission at its first organization should be as flexible as possible.


It would be folly for the Lutheran Church, for instance, which has one polity in Germany, another in Sweden, another in Iceland, and still another in America, to attempt permanently to impose any one of those special forms upon the Japanese Lutheran Church; it will have its own special polity, but this should not cause us any anxiety or concern. If the faith and life of the church are right, it matters but little about its polity. We should be more concerned for the broader interests of the kingdom than for the perpetuation of our special form of the church, for the promise of final triumph is only to the kingdom.

Experience has settled certain points in regard to the native church, which Dr. Lawrence, in his admirable book on "Modern Missions in the East," denominates "axioms of missions." My own experience and judgment lead me to give them my hearty indorsement. Three are named:

1. "The native church in each country should be organized as a distinct church, ecclesiastically independent of the church in any other country."

2. "The pastorate of the native church should be a native pastorate. Whatever else the missionary is, he should not be pastor."

3. "The principles of self-control, self-help, and self-extension should be recognized in the {293} very organization of the church. To postpone them to days of strength is to postpone both strength and blessing."

The question of self-support and independence is one of the gravest in connection with the native church. All are agreed as to its desirableness, and all aim ultimately to attain it; but the success hitherto attained in Japan is not what might be expected. There are perhaps a larger number of self-supporting churches in Japan than in most mission fields, but not so many as there should be. The native churches, as a rule, do not contribute what they should or could toward their own support. In this regard the statistics usually given are very deceptive. Many of those churches put down as self-supporting either are so largely through the private contributions of the missionaries of the station, or are churches in connection with mission schools, where the expense is small because one of the professors, who draws a salary from the board, acts as pastor. I have heard of one church marked "self-supporting" that was composed of only one man and his family. This man was the evangelist, who, having some private means, supported himself.

While the annual statistics show fairly good contributions "by the native churches," it should be borne in mind that the contributions of a large body of missionaries, who are liberal givers, are {294} included. At most stations they give more than the whole native church combined.

Native Christians do not contribute as much toward the support of the gospel as they formerly did toward the support of their false religions. The reasons for this are, first, that heathenism induced larger gifts by teaching that every one who makes a contribution for religious purposes is thereby heaping up merit for himself in the life to come. And, second, that the native churches have from the beginning leaned on the missionaries and societies, until independent giving and self-sacrifice have been discouraged. The mission board is looked upon as an institution of limitless resources, whose business it is to provide money for the work. And, third, that in many instances the native evangelists do not heartily second the efforts of the missionaries to bring the churches to a self-supporting basis. They would much rather draw their salaries from the mission treasurer than from the members of their churches. The reasons for this are obvious: they could not conscientiously urge their flocks to support them on a better scale than they themselves live, but they can ask the mission to do this; again, when their salaries come from the mission they are prompt and sure, while if they come from the churches they are irregular and uncertain. But in justice to Japanese {295} pastors it should be said that, while the above is true of many of them, there are others who have willingly made personal sacrifices, living on much smaller salaries than formerly, in order to assist their churches to self-support.

How to overcome all these obstacles and develop a liberal, self-supporting spirit in the native church is a difficult problem with which the mission boards are at present grappling. The Congregational Church has more nearly solved it than any other, yet its number of independent churches fell off considerably during the past year.

The native church must not be judged too harshly for its failure in self-support. It has not yet been educated in giving as the home churches have, and its resources are very limited. Most of its members are exceedingly poor and have all they can do to provide for the support of themselves and families. Our proper attitude toward them in this matter is one of patience, sympathy, and help.

How shall the native church be provided with a competent ministry? This is a perplexing question to the churches in the home lands; how much more so in a mission field! It is necessary to provide pastors, evangelists, catechists, teachers, Bible-women, etc.—a whole army of workers.


The first question in this connection is, How is the material to be provided? Shall bright, active boys who seem adapted to the work be selected out of the mission schools and especially trained for this work at the expense of the mission, without waiting for a divine call? This is the usual method, but it is far from satisfactory. Such, not having sought the ministerial office, do not feel its dignity and responsibility as much as those who are brought into it by a personal call. Some of the brightest and most promising, after having been educated at the expense of the mission, are easily enticed into other callings. Men so chosen and educated are very apt to consider themselves, and to be considered by others, as simply paid agents of the mission. Often their labors are performed in a mere routine and perfunctory manner, they evidently caring more for employment than for conversions. These are serious objections, and yet many good and noble men have been so trained; it does seem that in the early stages of mission work there is hardly any other way of providing a native ministry.

So soon as a native church is developed, with its accompanying Christian sentiment, the personal call to the ministry can be relied upon to furnish the material. An effort is then made by most of the larger missionary bodies to give a broad training to many men, and to rely upon a {297} certain number, in answer to a divine call, seeking the ministerial office. In this way the mission schools supply a portion of the theological students, but in Japan the larger portion are not graduates of the mission schools.

After the men are supplied, how shall they be trained for work? Shall instruction be given in Japanese only, or shall English be taught also? (For full discussion of this question see Chapter XIII.) Shall Greek and Hebrew be studied? How far shall the native religions be taught? Shall the curriculum in other respects be about what it is at home, or shall it be modified and especial stress laid upon certain subjects? Shall students study privately with the missionaries, or shall theological seminaries be erected? Shall students be encouraged to complete their theological training in Europe and America? Space does not permit a discussion of each of these questions, but only a bare statement of the consensus of judgment and practice in Japan after years of experience.

Shall instruction in the original languages of Scripture be given? As to the desirability of this there can be no question; but as the whole science of theology is entirely new here, and a study of its more important branches requires a long time, it has not been customary to give instruction in either of these languages. In recent years some seminaries have been trying to {298} introduce primary courses in Greek and Hebrew, and as the schools grow older, and their equipment improves, these languages will gradually be added to the curriculum.

Shall the religious systems and books of Japan be taught in theological schools? It is highly desirable that native ministers clearly understand and be able intelligently to combat the false religions around them; and to this end some seminaries give instruction in the doctrines of Buddhism and Shinto as well as Christianity. In one or two instances Buddhism is taught in Christian theological schools by Buddhist priests, but it is usually taught by Christian teachers in connection with dogmatic theology. As a rule, the native ministry desires more thorough instruction in the native religions, while the missionaries oppose any extension of the curriculum in that direction.

In general the same branches of theology are taught here that are taught at home. It is especially desirable that instruction in dogmatics and apologetics be thorough and sound, and these branches should perhaps be emphasized more than others.

Experience has proved that it is much better to have theological schools where the native ministry may be instructed than for the missionary to undertake such instruction in private. All the larger missions have fairly well-equipped {299} theological schools, and private instruction is only given by a few men whose missions have not yet been able to establish these. It is unfortunate, both for the student and for the missionary, when theological instruction must be given in private.

Many Japanese have been sent abroad to complete their theological course, but the experiment has not been satisfactory. The consensus of opinion now is that for the main body of pastors and evangelists a local training is much better than a foreign one. A few men of exceptional ability may be educated abroad as teachers and leaders, but great care must be taken not to denationalize them.

Another perplexing question in connection with the native church is its relation to the missionaries. On this subject there is great diversity of opinion. Shall the missionary retain any control over the native church, or shall he have only advisory power? Can he take an active part in its deliberations, or shall he be excluded from them?

As the church grows and develops it will come more and more to rely upon itself and to act independently of the mission. The majority of Japanese Christians take the ground that the missionary has nothing to do with the organized native church, but that his sphere is with the unevangelized masses and unorganized chapels. {300} In the Congregational churches the missionaries have no voice or vote in the meetings and councils, and are recognized only as advisory members. In contrast to this policy is that of the Episcopal and Methodist bodies, in whose councils natives and foreigners meet together and deliberate in harmony. The meetings are presided over by the foreigners, and they have a controlling voice in all legislation. The Presbyterians also take part in presbytery and synod, but the Japanese usually preside and are in the majority.

Certainly the missionary should not be pastor of the native church and should not exercise lordly control over it; but it "does seem that he should retain some influence, or at least should have veto power against unwise legislation.

What shall be the attitude of the native church toward certain national habits and customs? Here is a problem that often perplexes missionaries and evangelists. It is recognized by all that anything squarely in contradiction to Christianity must be opposed. On the other hand, it is recognized that national customs should be carefully observed when they are not antichristian or immoral. There are some customs in Japan about the nature of which great difference of opinion prevails, such as the honors shown dead ancestors, bowing before the emperor's picture, contributing to certain religious festivals, etc.


When a parent dies it is customary for the children to pay regular visits to the tomb, to make offerings there, and to reverence or worship the departed. In the eyes of some this act involves real worship; to others it is merely an expression of reverence and respect. It seems that Paul's principle of not eating meat for his weak brother's sake should be applied here. The act in itself may be performed without compromising a Christian's conscience; but for the sake of the common people, to whom it means worship, it should be omitted by Christians, and the churches generally forbid it.

In all the schools, at certain festivals, the emperor's picture is brought out, and all teachers and pupils are required to bow before it. This is a national custom very dear to the hearts of the people, and any one failing to comply with it is severely censured. Much has been said and written as to the religious significance of the act. To the more enlightened of the Japanese this prostration before the emperor's picture may be only an act of deep reverence and respect, such as is shown to royalty in the West by the lifting of the hat, but to the masses it doubtless is real worship, in so far as they know what worship is. This is not strange when we remember the almost universally accepted belief as to the divine origin of the mikado. The government itself virtually {302} acknowledged the religious significance of the act when it passed a law permitting foreign teachers in the various schools to absent themselves on the day of the exaltation of the imperial picture, if they so desired.

Now here is a national custom very dear to the people, in itself harmless, but which in the eyes of many involves real worship. What shall be the attitude of the church toward it?

Some religious festivals are observed in Japan which have more or less political significance. While they are generally held in connection with some temple, there may be nothing distinctively heathen about the festival itself. To provide for the expense, each house is asked to contribute a certain amount of money—the Christians along with the rest. There is no legal compulsion in the matter, but every one contributes, and there is a moral necessity to do so. Now what stand shall the Christian church take on this matter? Shall the members be advised to comply with the custom, or shall they be forbidden to do so?

How to remain faithful to her Lord, and yet not unnecessarily wound the national feelings of her countrymen, is the delicate and difficult problem which the native church must solve.

A very important problem is, how to bring about more coöperation in mission work. It is highly desirable that Christianity present an {303} undivided front to the enemy, that its forces at least work in harmony with one another.

While men's views on important theological questions differ so radically as at present it is useless to talk of organic union; but there can and should be brotherly recognition, mutual assistance whenever possible, respect for one another's views, absence of controversy, scrupulous regard for another's recognized territory, and hearty coöperation in all possible ways.

There is something of this realized in Japan to-day. The Christian bodies, as a rule, dwell together in peace and harmony, rejoicing in one another's welfare. Contentions and strife are much less common than in the West. All the various branches of the Reformed and Presbyterian churches are laboring in hearty coöperation to build up one united native church. The various Episcopal bodies, while themselves organically distinct, are also building up an undivided Japanese Episcopal Church.

But much yet remains that might be done in this line. In matters of publication, theological education, etc., that involve heavy expense, plans might be devised whereby several missions could coöperate, and thus the expense be lessened to each and the work better done. To illustrate: here is a small mission, with only a few workers and a very small amount of money wherewith to {304} operate. It has all the evangelistic work it can do, and is unable to support its own theological school. Some of its missionaries are taken from the evangelistic work and forced to train, as best they can, one or two theological students. In the same community is a good theological school belonging to a sister mission, that has only a few students and would be glad to give its advantages to the students of the other mission. It does seem that some plan of coöperation should be devised whereby each could be accommodated. This problem is unsolved, and each little mission goes on working independently of all the others, at the cost of larger expenditure and poorer work. An easier form of coöperation very much to be desired, which has not yet been consummated, is that between different branches of the same church. That those known by the same name, whose doctrine and polity differ but little, and who are separated in the West only by geographical divisions, should coöperate on the mission field is a plain duty, failure to effect which is culpable. Take the great Methodist Church. There are five different Methodist bodies at work in Japan—each one prosecuting its work separate and distinct from the others. There is no conflict between them, neither is there any coöperation. What a saving there would be if these bodies would coöperate, especially in the matter of {305} educational work! As it is, each one of them supports its own academical and theological school, at a cost of men and money almost sufficient for the needs of all if united. Many of these different schools are at present poorly attended and consequently poorly equipped; whereas if the whole educational work were done by one or at most two institutions there would be a large number of students and the equipment could be made first-class.

An effort has been made on several occasions to unite these various Methodist bodies, and most of them desire a union, but as yet it has failed of accomplishment.

The responsibility for this failure lies much more with the home boards than with the missionaries. The latter generally desire more coöperation, and could bring it about were it not for the restrictions placed upon them. This is a problem to the solution of which the various missionary societies should set themselves in earnest. If the advance of the kingdom is partly hindered by a lack of this coöperation, then the mission boards are responsible before God.

The above are but some of the problems which present themselves to-day in Japan. If I have succeeded in impressing the reader with their number, complexity, and difficulty of solution, my purpose is accomplished.




It is exceedingly difficult to form a reliable conjecture concerning the future state of Christianity in Japan. In this land the unexpected always happens. It has been called a land of surprises. Instability, vacillation, and change are its characteristics. What is in favor to-day may be out to-morrow; what is out of favor to-day may be in to-morrow. The signs of the times may clearly indicate a certain trend of events for the next year, but ere that year has come all may change and the happenings be quite different from what was expected. The fact is, Japan is undergoing a peaceable social and political revolution, and it is hard to tell what a day may bring forth.

But there are certain factors which, if left to their natural development, will tend to bring about a certain condition, and by considering {307} those factors we can tell something about what that condition ought to be. We will attempt, then, to take a bird's-eye view of the influences in operation on this mission field, and will make a surmise as to their probable outcome in the future.

There are three factors which must be considered in attempting to form an opinion as to the outlook: the working forces; the opposition to their work; and the natural adaptability or inadaptability of the people. We will endeavor to look right closely into these.

Humanly speaking, the forces engaged in any work will determine, to some extent, the future condition of that work. The future of Christianity in Japan will depend in part upon the present working Christian forces. These forces are the native church, the body of missionaries, and the whole mass of mission machinery.

The burden of the work rests with the native church. The evangelization of the masses must be chiefly by her effort. The standing of Christianity in the empire will depend upon her. If true to her Lord, and faithful in the discharge of the task which He has given, the result will probably be good. Now what is the condition of the native church in Japan to-day? There are 100,000 Christians, including Protestants, Greeks, and Romanists. These Christians have manifested commendable zeal, earnestness, and {308} piety. The native church is organized, hopeful, and aggressive, yet in many respects not what her friends desire and what they pray she may be. Very much is yet to be desired in the matters of orthodoxy, self-support, and internal harmony, but it is not sure that this native church is more lacking in these respects than native churches in other mission fields. Church history seems to indicate that the church in every land must go through a certain period of doctrinal development. The old heresies of Arianism, Pelagianism, and Sabellianism spring up in their order on each mission field, and are finally succeeded by orthodoxy. Japan is now in that developing period, and loose theological views are to be expected. There are many men of unorthodox views in the native church, who exert a strong influence; but there are also many men of sound evangelical views, who will be able probably to restrain the radicals and determine the future development. I think in time there will come to the church in Japan a sounder faith and a fuller Christian consciousness, and that she will faithfully bear her part in the evangelization of this land. Although there are now many elements in the church which should not be there, we must have faith to leave the removal of them to the influence of time and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God will take care of His church {309} and endow her for the work He has given her to do.

The foreign missionaries in Japan can be depended upon to do all in their power to bring about the triumph of Christianity. They are a large body of earnest, consecrated workers, led by the Spirit of God. With but a few exceptions, a more faithful and talented body of men cannot be found. There are in all branches of the church, including Greek and Roman Catholics, 876 European missionaries. This number includes single and married women. Such a force, led by the Holy Spirit, ought to be able to do much to hasten the coming of the kingdom in Japan.

Besides the native and foreign workers, all the machinery and institutions of various kinds necessary for the growth and expansion of the church are now in operation. A good Christian literature is rapidly forming, numerous Christian schools of various grades are planted over all the empire, and a large number of Christian colleges and theological seminaries are already open.

When we thus review the human forces upon which the future depends we have reason to feel encouraged.

But no matter how strong and consecrated the body of workers, the success of the work will in some degree be conditioned by the hindrances {310} which are placed in the way. There may be certain social or governmental oppositions, certain combinations of militating circumstances, which will prove insurmountable to the best workers, effectually hindering the future of a work otherwise promising.

Formerly, as has been shown, the government put every opposition it could in the way of Christian work. Long after the prohibitions of Christianity were removed governmental influence was exerted against it in many ways. Even after religious liberty was granted by the promulgation of the constitution it was far from being realized. In certain departments of the governmental service, especially in the military and educational departments, until very recent years persecutions were still practised in a mild but effective way. But all this is now a thing of the past.

The attitude of the government has changed recently, and instead of hindering it has actually encouraged and in several ways helped in our work. During the late war with China it permitted the sending to the army of three native chaplains, and on the field encouraged and helped them all it could. These men were not officially styled "Christian chaplains," but were called imonshi, or comforters. It is not true, as has recently been affirmed by a minister in New York, {311} that there are regularly appointed permanent Christian chaplains to the Japanese army. None but these three have ever been appointed, and their appointment was only temporary. But the fact that the government granted them permission to accompany the armies and encouraged their work shows clearly a changed attitude toward the Christian religion.

The same is indicated by the fact that the authorities willingly gave permission for the distribution of Bibles to the soldiers in every department of the army. They even aided in the distribution, and often arranged for those who distributed them to preach to the soldiers. I think few non-Christian lands have ever gone so far as this in their encouragement of Christianity.

From these facts I infer that the government will no longer place obstacles in the way of our work. Such obstacles have in the past prevented many from favoring Christianity, and their removal augurs well for the future.

The native religions have very much hindered the evangelization of Japan. Their militating influence is still active and powerful, but I think it is gradually declining. Buddhism will die hard, but she is too old, effete, and corrupt permanently to withstand her younger and more powerful foe. The inherent truth of Christianity must ultimately give it the victory. As Japanese education and {312} enlightenment advance, the intrinsic superiority of Christianity over Buddhism must appear and must recommend it to the people.

The hope of our religion in this land lies largely in the fact of the insatiable desire of the people for Western learning and civilization. The ever-increasing introduction of Western literature, the adoption of our civilization and institutions, will necessarily bring about a better acquaintance with Christianity, its spirit and aims. Then the prejudice against it will gradually die out, and it will, appealing to them in its true light,—the germ and base of all true civilization, and the foster-mother of education and enlightenment,—be readily accepted.

The social hindrances operating against Christianity to-day are all local and personal, and will probably become less and less until they die a natural death. Every part of the empire is absolutely open, and there is nothing to hinder a full and free proclamation of the gospel in every town, village, and hamlet in Japan.

The superior position of Christianity at present to that which it held a few years ago is striking. Professor Chamberlain, a very close observer, whose experience in Japan has extended over many years, says: "To those who can look back thirty years, or even only twenty years, the change in the position of Christianity in Japan {313} is most striking, indeed well-nigh incredible." From a hated and despised thing it has risen to a position in which it commands the respect of many of the best men in the land.

But there is another element which must be taken into consideration in making up an estimate of the outlook, and that is the natural adaptability or inadaptability of the people for Christianity. The farmer may labor long and hard; he may sow the best seed; sunshine and rain may lend their encouragement; but if the soil is uncongenial the yield will be small. In the same way, a strong, consecrated working force may labor, unopposed, with might and main in the mission field, but if the soil is not congenial the results will be small.

Are the Japanese people well or ill adapted by nature to the reception of Christianity? The strongest opposition to our work, and the one which makes us most anxious for the future, lies in the natural constitution of the people for whom we labor. Many natural characteristics of this people predispose them to reject Christianity.

I must again refer to that strong nationalistic feeling which is inborn in every Japanese and which hinders the rapid progress of the gospel. This principle, operating within the church, threatens to destroy the orthodoxy and integrity of the faith. Animated by a patriotic feeling {314} that is more blind than enlightened, the creeds, the polity, the life of the church of the West, are considered as of little worth, and many parts of the native church are extremely anxious to cut off everything possible that has a foreign flavor, and to create a form of Christianity peculiarly Japanese.

Again, the nationalistic feeling prompts many, both in the church and out of it, to chafe at the presence of foreign religious teachers in their midst. The very presence of these teachers is looked upon as an implication that the Japanese are not competent to instruct themselves in religious matters, and this is much resented. As a prominent Japanese put it not long ago, "What could be more inconsistent or improper than for great Japan, that has so recently humbled China and forced the admiration of the world for her skill in arms, as well as for her educational, commercial, and industrial development, to be instructed in religious matters by foreigners?"

Operating in these ways, Japanese patriotism ill adapts the people for a reception of Christianity.

Another feature of the native character which is not favorable is its lack of seriousness and stability. Religion is a serious, solemn matter, but the Japanese are not a serious-minded people. Their beliefs have always sat lightly upon them, to be taken off and put on at will. Where these {315} characteristics are largely wanting the progress of Christianity will probably be slow.

At present the Japanese are too materialistic properly to appreciate a religion so spiritual as ours. In religion, as in all other things, they desire to receive some present material benefit; and when the rewards of Christianity are found to be chiefly spiritual, and most of them not realized in the present life, a deaf ear is turned. This is an era of great material prosperity in Japan, and the minds of the people are fully occupied with commercial and industrial questions, to the exclusion of moral and religious ones.

The most common attitude of the Japanese public toward Christianity to-day is one of absolute indifference. The people think that if the government permits this religion it cannot be so very bad; it is making little progress anyway, and they need give it no notice whatever. If others care to go and hear about it, all right, but as for themselves, they have no relations with it. The usual experience now when a new chapel is opened and preaching begun is that for a few times large numbers of people will come out of curiosity; then after a little they stop, and no further regard is paid to the chapel or the preaching. The conflict of religions, the inconsistencies and shortcomings of the old faiths, the advancing knowledge, have combined to bring about a state {316} of indifference, wide-spread and hard to overcome. It is in many respects more hurtful than a position of open antagonism.

The natural tendency of the Japanese mind to be skeptical in regard to all supernatural questions has been fostered by education to such an extent that educated Japan is to-day largely a nation of atheists, or at least of agnostics. The proud pharisaic spirit is abroad, indisposing the race to accept Christ.

The course of Christianity in the future will not be an unopposed, easy march to victory. There yet remains a great deal to be done, Many clouds still linger on the horizon, making us anxious about the morrow. But so much has already been done that the churches at home should feel encouraged to renew their energies for the final contest. When one division of an army has forced a breach in the enemy's lines, it is not left to hold the position alone, but reinforcements are hurried forward to its assistance, and the advantage gained is instantly followed up. The attack has been made in Japan; the enemy's lines have been broken, but the victory is not yet. This is no time for retreat, for hesitancy, or for cavil; this is a time for prompt reinforcement and liberal support. Let the home churches feel that such is their present duty toward the work in Japan.


Although the outlook to-day is not to the natural eye very bright, to the spiritual eye all is as noonday. The victory has been assured from the beginning. However indisposed by nature the people among whom we labor may be, whatever hindrances may oppose our work, the word of the Almighty has gone forth—the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. The victory is sure, because God reigns. In His own good time every opposing influence will pass away, and the banner of King Immanuel will wave over all this fair land. It may not be in the present century; it may not even be in the lifetime of any now living; but it will surely be when God's time is fulfilled.

With an assured faith, built upon the firm promises of God, we confidently look forward to the time when the empire of Japan shall no longer be a mission field, but shall herself send the message of light and life to the darkened millions around her.

May God hasten the day.



Ainu, 10, 33.

American Board (Congregational), 171; history of work, 179; strained relations with native church, 182.

Ancestors, worship of, 117, 270, 301.

Animals, 29.

Art, 95.

Asama, 11.

Ashikaga, 42.

Ballagh, Rev. Mr., baptized first convert, 175.

Banking, 103.

Baptists, 171, 187.

Bathing, 83.

Beautiful, love of the, 59.

Belief, missionary's, 198.

Berry, Dr. J. C., opinions on vacations, 218, 220, 223; his medical work, 265.

Bible, first portions translated, 147, 174; translation of, essential, 162; translation committee and work, 175; distribution to soldiers, 311.

Bible and tract societies of America and England, work of, 190.

Bicycle, 245.

Birds, 30.

Biwa, 14.

Bridges, 16.

Brotherhood, universal, unknown, 136; repugnant, 273.

Brothers, relation of, 134.

Brown, Rev. Dr. S. R., 170; drafts of New Testament, 174.

Buddhism, introduction of, 40; principal features of, 126; history of, 127; formative power of, 128; temples and priests, 129; and Christianity, 126, 130, 279; vitality of, 278, 311.

Camphor, 26.

Census of 1893, 9.

Chamberlain, Professor, on advance of Christianity in Japan, 312.

Chaplains, Christian, appointed by the government, 310.

Character, missionary's, 200.

Cheerfulness, native, 53.

Children, an allowance for, 214.

China, early influence of, 39; ancient civilization of, 90; recent war with, 49, 310.

Christianity, first introduction of, 144; early successes, 148; attempted extermination of, 154; cannot be extirpated, 156; prohibitions of, 157, 172; edicts against, removed, 176; reaction against, 178; by nature diffusive, 243; revolutionizing tendency of, 267; exclusiveness of, 269; past record of, 274; advance of, 312.

Church, first organized, 175; sifting of, 178.

Church of Christ in Japan, 184.

Civilization, definition of, 89; Japan's compared with Western, 106; adoption of Western, 177.

Climate, 19-22.

Clothing, 73, 82.

Commercial honor, 67; morality, 120.

Confucianism, and Japanese morality, 109; ethics of, 110; history of, 130; basal principles of, 131; nearest approach to Christianity, 135; contrasted with Christianity, 243.

Consecration of missionary, 197.

Constitution of Japan, 47, 96.

Converts, first, 175; social ostracism of, 279; requirements of, 288; indigent, 289.

Curiosity, native, 212.

Customs, bearing of, upon mission work, 70, 269.

Davis, Rev. and Mrs. J. D., 180.

Death, not afraid of, 65.

Disappointments, missionary's, 226.

Doshisha University, 180; rationalistic teaching of, 181.

Duty, ours to the missionary, 229; joy of doing, 231.

Earthquakes, 12, 13.

Educational system of Japan, 93, 255; antagonistic to Christianity, 276.

Educational work of missions, compared with evangelistic, 250; criticism of, 253; hinders self-support, 260.

Embassy to Rome, 149.

Emperor, power of name, 55; worship of picture, 112, 301.

Environment, missionary's, unfavorable, 227.

Episcopalians, 170, 183; five branches of, 186; native church, 187, 303.

Ethnology, 32, 33.

Europeanization of Japan, 46, 91; our hope, 312.

Evangelization, 234; missionaries must be evangelists, 235; subordinated to educational work, 236; local, 237; itinerating, 242.

Exiles, missionaries, 225, 228.

Exports, 27.

Facial expression, 53.

Farms, 23.

Festivals, religious, 302.

Feudalism, rise of, 41; conditions under, 145.

Fish, 30.

Food, 80.

Foreign pastor, 230.

Foreigners, treatment of, 44, 136; country open to, 170, 171; ungodly example of, 282.

Formosa, 9.

Franchise, limited, 96.

Friends, 135.

Fuji-san, 12.

Fujiwara family, 41.

Funerals, 84.

Geography of Japan, 9-15.

Girls' boarding-schools, 255; purpose of, 256; end defeated by etiquette, 257; reasons for and against, 258, 259.

Goble, Rev. J., translation of Matthew, 174.

God, Japanese word for, 249, 262.

Government, Japanese, 95; paternalism of, 58; hostile to Christianity, 172, 173, 313.

Gratitude, 66.

Greek Church (Russian), 165; its founder, 166; its cathedral, 167; its work, 168.

Greene, Dr. and Mrs., 180.

Greetings, 88.

Gulick, Rev. O. H., 180; story of his teacher, 172.

Hara-kiri (belly-cutting), 85.

Haughty bearing of missionary, 241.

Health of missionary, the first qualification, 193; medical examinations, 195; allowance for, 215; and vacations, 216.

Heathen faiths opposed to Christianity, 277, 311.

Hibachi, 80.

Hideyoshi, 43; persecutor of Christians, 150.

Hindrances to Christianity, 266; common to all fields, 267; peculiar to Japan, 271; the greatest, 313.

Hiroshima, 18.

Hollanders, 10, 44, 156, 158.

Homes, mission, necessity of as examples, 207, 211; comfort of, 210; a Western home, 212.

Hondo, 9.

Houses, Japanese, use of, 76; construction of, 78; furniture, 79.

Human life, cheap, 64.

Imitativeness, 64.

Imperial University, 94.

Inconsistency, 63.

Inland Sea, 10.

Inns, Japanese, 245.

Inquirers, how to deal with, 238, 286.

Instability, of people, 61, 314; of civilization, 105.

Intellectual life, 54; open-mindedness, 59.

Islands of Japan, 9, 10, 11.

Itinerating, 242; greatest hindrance to, 246; kinds of, 247; objections to, 249.

Iyeyasu, 43, 109; and the battle of Sekigahara, 153; persecution of Christianity, 153.

Japan, the land of, 9; new, birth of, 45; religions of, 122.

Japanese, reliable history of, 40; characteristics, 51; manners and customs, 69, civilization, 89; morality, 107; skeptical, 316.

Jesuits, introduction of Christianity by, 45.

Jimmu Tenno, 36, 38.

Jingo, Empress, 39.

Jinrikisha, 63, 244.

Joys of the missionary, 231.

Kagoshima, 18.

Kanagawa, 18.

Kasatkin, Bishop Nicolai, founder of Greek mission, 166.

Korea, subjugation of, 39.

Kyoto or Saikyo, 10, 17, 18.

Kyushu, 9; Dutch residence on, 10.

Lakes, 14.

Land, cultivated, 11, 22; picturesque, 14; irrigation of, 22; terracing, 23.

Language, structure of, 55; difficult to learn to read, 93; first dictionary of, 174; talent for, essential to the missionary, 203; difficult to master, 262, 284.

Lawrence, Dr. E., on common sense, 204; on exiles, 225; "axioms of missions," 292.

Laws, 96.

Libraries, how regarded, 72.

Life, chief of all evils, 127.

Liggins, Rev. J., 170.

Lights, 103.

Literature, native, 92; Christian, 261, 263.

Love of humanity, missionary's, 199.

Loyalty, first moral principle, 111, 132.

Lutherans, missionary problems of, 188; purpose in Japan, 189.

McDonald, Dr., on furloughs, 224.

Mails, 101, 246.

Manufactories, 104.

Marriage, customs, 75; relation, 133; essential to missionary, 206.

Martyrs, 115.

Materialism in Japan, 277, 315.

Maxims, 117, 272.

Medical missions, 264; no longer needed in Japan, 265.

Mental qualifications of the missionary, 201.

Methodist Church in Japan, 171, 183; branches of, 185, 304; present status of, 186.

Mikados, 41.

Minamoto, great clan, 41.

Minerals, 28,

Missionaries, lives in danger, 171; qualifications of, 192; private life of, 209; extent and variety of work of, 234; number of, in Japan, 309.

Missions in Japan, modern Roman and Greek, 160; Protestant, 169; the "happy time" of, 177; differing policy of, 182; small bodies, 190; results of, 191; projected on too high a plane, 260; hindrances to, 266; special problems of, 286; the outlook of, 306.

Morality, compared with West, 109, 117; chief defect of, 121.

Music in the Greek Church, 167.

Mutsuhito, 47.

Mythological history, 36-39.

Mythology, 34, 122.

Nagasaki, 10.

Nagoya, 18.

Native church, its relation to the missionary, 182, 228, 299, 314; missionary's crown, 232; development of, 242; hurtful national feeling in, 273; problem of, 290; polity of, 290; self-support, 293; reasons for dependence, 294; attitude toward national habits and customs, 300; condition of, to-day, 307.

Native ministry, educated, 251; how provided, 295; how trained, 297.

Neesima, Dr., 181.

Newspapers, Japanese, 92; value of Christian, 263.

Nihon, native name of empire, 10.

Nihon-bashi, center of empire, 16.

Nobunaga, 43; patron of early Christianity, 148; assassinated, 150.

Obedience, result of, 58.

Official honor, 68,

Okayama, 18.

Omiiki, founder of Tenrikyo, 138.

Open ports, 19.

Originality, native, 63.

Outlook in Japan, 306; bright to spiritual eye, 317.

Parental relation, 133.

Parental respect, 57; great ethical principle, 116.

Passports, 246.

Patriotism, extreme, 55; hinders Christianity, 272, 313.

Perry, Commodore, and the opening of Japan, 44.

Persecutions, causes of, 150; Christians exiled, 172; United States government and, 176; cessation of, 177; memory of, 275.

Physique, native, 33.

Politeness, the exalted virtue, 85; ridiculous extremes, 87.

Portuguese, discovery of Japan, 43; captain and Hideyoshi, 150.

Prayer, 169.

Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in the United States, 169, 170.

Problems, special, 286.

Railways, 97.

Rainfall, 21.

Reformed Church in America, 170.

Religion, Japanese, composite, 123; influence of, 142; and morality, 268.

Rivers, 13.

Roads, 15, 16.

Roman Catholic Church in Japan, pioneer work of, 144; driven out, 154; early mistakes, 158, 161; the work resumed, 160; peculiar hindrances to, 163; prosperity of, 164.

Ronins, story of the forty-seven, 112.

Sake, 119.

Salary of the missionary, 213; when on furlough, 219.

Schools, Sunday, 239; mission, 251; academical, 253; girls', 255.

Sectarianism, a hindrance to missions, 281; disappearing, 303; advantages of coöperation, 304.

Self-control of missionary, 205.

Sermons, kind of, 249.

Sexes, relation of, 73.

Shikoku, 10.

Shimabara, fall of, 155.

Shinto, revival of, 45; morality, 108; history of, 123; state religion, 125; ancestors, 270; opposing Christianity, 278.

Shogun (tycoon), 42; abolition of the office, 46.

Sign language, graceful, 76.

Simmons, Dr. D. B., 170.

Sin, no word for, 249, 262.

Society, missionary's need of, 216, 217, 225.

Spiritual qualifications of the missionary, 197.

Steamers, 99.

Suicides, 65, 120.

Taira, great clan, 41.

Taylor, Dr. W., 265; opinions on missionary's qualifications, 194; furloughs, 220, 221, 224.

Telegraphs, 99, 246.

Tenrikyo, missionary religion, 137; origin of, 138; teachings of, 139; distinguishing characteristics, 141.

Theological training, necessity of, 251; in English language, 252; abroad, 252, 299; place of native religions in, 298.

Theology, native, rationalistic, 181; desire for, 274; formative stage, 308.

Tidal waves, 13.

Tokaido, most famous road, 16.

Tokyo, the capital, 10, 17.

Tone-gawa, largest river, 14.

"Topsyturvydom," 70.

Treaties, American, 45, 107; English, 170; revision of, 48, 178.

Typhoons, 22.

Vacations of missionaries, summer, 216; furloughs, 218, 224; argument against, 219; medical opinions in favor of, 220; from an economic standpoint, 221; useful to native and home churches alike, 222.

Vegetarians, 80.

Verbeck, Rev. Dr. G. F., 171, 175.

Visitation, advantages of, 239; and Japanese etiquette, 240.

Volcanoes, 11.

Wife, missionary's, health of, 196.

Williams, Rev. C. M. (Bishop), 170, 175.

Work, methods of, 234.

Xavier, St. Francis, first missionary to Japan, 146.

Yezo, 9; location and climate, 10,

Yoritomo, first shogun, 42.

Yokohama, 11.