XXI. LIFE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.
HISTORY, as usually written, gives the impression that the normal condition of mankind is that of war. Japanese students who take up the history of England to read, lay it down convinced that the English people are a blood-loving race that are perpetually fighting. They contrast their own peaceful country with the countries of Europe, to the detriment of the latter. They turn most gladly from the monotonous story of battle, murder, and sieges, to Buckle, Guizot, or Lecky, that they may learn of the victories no less renowned than those of war which mark as mile-stones the progress of the race. I greatly fear that from lack of literary skill my readers will say that my story of Japan thus far is a story of bloody war; but such, indeed, it is as told in their own histories. Permanent, universal peace was unknown in Japan until, by the genius of Iyéyasŭ in the sixteenth century, two centuries and a half of this blessing were secured. Nevertheless, in the eight centuries included between the eighth and the sixteenth of our era were many, and often lengthened, intervals of peace. In many sequestered places the sandal of the warrior and the hoof of the war-horse never printed the soil. Peace in the palace, in the city, in the village, allowed the development of manners, arts, manufactures, and agriculture. In this period were developed the characteristic growths of the Japanese intellect, imagination, social economy, and manual skill that have made the hermit nation unique in the earth and Japanese art productions the wonder of the world.
In this chapter, I shall simply glance at some of the salient features of life in Japan during the Middle Ages.
The introduction of continental or Chinese civilization into Japan was not a simple act of adoption. It was rather a work of selection and assimilation. As in this nineteenth century, the Japanese is no blind copyist, he improves on what he borrows. Although the traveler from China entering Japan can see in a moment whence the Japanese have borrowed their civilization, and though he may believe the Japanese to be an inferior type to that of the Chinese, he will acknowledge that the Japanese have improved upon their borrowed elements fully as much as the French have improved upon those of Roman civilization. Many reflecting foreigners Japan have asked the question why the Japanese are so unlike the Chinese, and why their art, literature, laws, customs, dress, workmanship, all bear a stamp peculiar to the themselves, though they received so much from them The reason is to be found in the strength and persistence of the pminal Japanese type of character, as influenced by nature, enabling it to resist serious alteration mid radical change. The greatest conquests made by auy of the imparted elements of continental eivilizaion was that of Buddhism, which became within ten centuries the universally popular religion. Yet even its conquests were but partial. Its triumph was secured only by its adulteration. Japanese Buddhism is a distinct product among the many forms of that Asiatic religion. Buddhism secured life and growth on Japanese soil only by being Japanized, by being grafted on the original stock of ideas in the Japauese mind. Thus, in order to popularize the Indian religion, the ancient native heroes and the local gods were all included within the Buddhist pantheon, and declared to be the incarnations of Buddha in his various forms. A class of deities exist in Japan who are worshiped by the Buddhists under the general name of gongen. They are all deified Japanese heroes, warriors, or famous men. Furthermore, many of the old rites and ceremonies of Shintō were altered and made use of by the bonzes. It may be doubted whether Buddhisin could have ever been popular in Japan, had it not become thoroughly Japanized. Some of the first-fruits of the success of the new religion was the erection of temples, pagodas, idols, wayside shrines, monasteries, and nunneries; the adoption of the practice of cremation, until then unknown; and the cessation of the slaughter of animals for food. The largest and richest of the ecclesiastical structures were in or near Kiōto. The priests acted as teachers, advisers, counselors, and scribes, besides officiating at the altars, shriving the sick, and attending the sculpture of the dead.
Among the orders and sects which grew and multiplied were many similar to those in papal Europe - mendicants, sellers of indulgences, builders of shrines and images, and openers of mountain paths. The monasteries became asylums for the distressed, afflicted, and persecuted. In them the defeated soldier, the penniless and the dissatisfied, the refugee from the vendetta, could find inviolate shelter. To them the warrior after war, the prince and the minister leaving the palace, the honors and pomp of the world, could retire to spend the remnant of their days in prayer, worship, and the offices of piety. Often the murderer, struck with remorse, or the soldier before his bloody victim, would resolve to turn monk. Not rarely did men crossed in love, or the offspring of the concubine displaced by the birth of the legitimate son, or the grief-stricken father, devote himself to the priestly life. In general, however, the ranks of the bonzes were recruited from orphans or piously inclined youth, or from overstocked families. To the nunneries, the fertile soil of bereavement, remorse, unrequited love, widowhood furnished the greater number of sincere and devout nuns. In many cases, the deliberate choice of wealthy ladies, or the necessity of escaping an uncongenial marriage planned by relatives, undesirable attentions, or the lusts of rude men in unsettled times, gave many an inmate to the convents.
In general, however, natural indolence, a desire to avoid the round of drudgery at the well, the hoe, or in the kitchen, or as nurse, sent the majority of applicants to knock at the convent doors. Occasionally a noble lady was won to recluse life from the very apartments of the emperor, or his ministers, by the eloquence of a bonze who was more zealous than loyal. In a few of the convents, only ladies of wealth could enter. The monk and nun, in Japanese as in European history, romance, and drama, and art, are staple characters. The rules of these monastic institutions forbade the eating of fish or flesh, the drinking of saké, the wearing of the hair or of fine clothes, indulgence in certain sensuous pleasures, or the reading of certain books. Fastings, vigils, reflection, continual prayer by book, bell, candle, and beads, were enjoined. Pious pilgrimages were undertaken. The erection of a shrine, image, belfry, or lantern by begging contributions was a freqeunt and meritorious enterprise. There stand today thousands of these monuments of the piety, zeal, and industry of the mediæval monks and nuns. Those at Nara and Kamakura are the most famous. The Kamakura Dai Butsŭ (Great Buddha) has been frequently described before. It is a mass of copper 44 feet high, and a work of high art. The image at Nara was first erected in the eighth century, destroyed during the civil wars, and recast about seven hundred years ago. Its total height is 53½ feet; its face is 16 feet long, and 9½ feet wide. The width of its shoulders is 28ō feet. Nine hundred and sixty-six curls adorn its head, around which is a halo 78 feet in diameter, on which are sixteen images, each 8 feet long. The casting of the idol is said to have been tried seven times before it was successfully accomplished, and 3000 tons of charcoal were used in the operation. The metal, said to weigh 450 tons, is a bronze composed of gold (500 pounds), mercury (1954 pounds), tin (16,827 pounds), and copper (986,080 pounds). Many millions of tons of copper were mined and melted to make these idols. Equally renowned were the great temple-bells of Kiōto, and of Miidera, and various other monasteries. Some of these were ten feet high, and adorned with sacred texts from the Buddhist Scriptures, and images of heavenly beings, or Buddha on the sacred lotus in Nirvana, in high relief. As usual, the nimbus, or halo, surrounds his head. Two dragon-heads formed the summit, and ear, by which it was hung to its beam by an iron link. The bell was struck on a raised round spot, by a hammer of wood - a small tree-trunk swung loosely on two ropes. After impact, the bellman held the beam on its rebound, until the quivering monotone began to die away. Few sounds are more solemnly sweet than the mellow music of a Japanese temple-bell. On a still night, a circumference of twenty miles was flooded by the melody of the great bell of Zōzōji. The people learned to love their temple-bell as a dear friend, as its note changed with the years and moods of life.
The casting of a bell was ever the occasion of rejoicing and public festival. When the chief priest of the city announced that one was to be made, the people brought contributions in money, or offerings of bronze gold, pure tin, or copper vessels. Ladies gave with their own hands the mirrors which had been the envy of lovers, young girls laid their silver hair-pins and bijouterie on the heap. When metal enough and in due proportion had been amassed, crucibles were made, earthfurnaces dug, the molds fashioned, and huge bellows, worked by standing men at each end, like a seesaw, were mounted; and, after due prayers and consultation, the auspicious day was appointed. The place selected was usually on a hill or commanding place. The people, in their gayest dress, assembled in picnic parties, and with song and dance and feast waited while the workmen, in festal uniform, toiled, and the priests, in canonical robes, watched. The fires were lighted, the bellows oscillated, the blast roared, and the crucibles were brought to the proper heat and the contents to fiery fluidity, the joy of the crowd increasing as each stage in the process was announced. When the molten flood was finally poured into the mold, the excitement of the spectators reached a height of uncontrollable enthusiasm. Another pecuniary harvest was reaped by the priests before the crowds dispersed, by the sale of stamped kerchiefs or paper containing a holy text, or certifying to the presence of the purchaser at the ceremony, and the blessing of the gods upon him therefor. Such a token became an heir-loom; and the child who ever afterward heard the solemn boom of the bell at matin or evening was constrained, by filial as well as holy motives, to obey and reverence its admonitory call. The belfry was usually a separate building apart from the temple, with elaborate cornices and roof.
In addition to the offices of religion, many of the priests were useful men, and real civilizers. They were not all lazy monks or idle bonzes. By the Buddhist priests many streams were spanned with bridges, paths and roads made, shade or fruit trees planted, ponds and ditches for purposes of irrigation duct, aqueducts built, unwholesome localities drained, and mountain passes discovered or explored. Many were the school-masters, and, as learned men, were consulted on subjects beyond the ken of their parishioners. Some of them, having a knowledge of medicine, acted as physicians. The sciences and arts in Japan all owe much to the bonzes who from Corea personally introduced many useful appliances or articles of food. Several edible vegetables are still named after the priests, who first taught their use. The exact sciences, astronomy and mathematics, as well as the humanities, owe much of their cultivation and development to clerical scholars. In the monasteries, the brethren exercised their varied gifts in preaching, study, calligraphy, carving, sculpture, or on objects of eccleslastical art.
The monuments by which the memory of many a saintly bonze is still kept green exist to-day as treasures on the altars, or in the temple or its shady precincts, in winged words or material substance. A copy of the Buddhist Scriptures, a sacred classic, in roll or bound volume, might occupy a holy penman before his brush and ink-stone for years. The manuscript texts which I have often seen in the hall of worship on silky paper bound in damask, in Japanese monasteries, could not be inmproved in elegance and accuracy by the printer's art. The transcription of a sutra on silk, made to adorn the wall of a shrine, in many cases performed its mission for centuries.
Another monk excelled in improvisation of sacred stanzas, another painted the pictures and scrolls by which the multitude were taught by the priest, with his pointer in hand, the mysteries of theology, the symbols of worship, the terrors of the graded hells and purgatories, and the felicities of Nirvana. Another of the fraternity, with cunning hand, compelled the wonder of his brethren by his skill in earving. He could, from a log which to-day had its bark on, bring forth in time the serene countenance of Buddha, the ravishing beauty of Kuanon, the Goddess of Mercy, the scowling terrors of the God of War, the frightful visage of Fudo, or the hideous face of the Lord of Hell. Another was famous for molding the clay for the carver, the sculptor, or the bronze-smith. Many articles of altar furniture, even to the incense-sticks and flowers, were often made entirely by clerical hands.
During the Middle Ages, the arts of pottery, lacquering, gilding, bronze-casting, engraving and chasing, chisel and punch work, sword- making, goldsmith's work, were brought to a perfection never since excelled, if indeed it has been equaled. In enameled and inlaid metal work the hand of the Japanese artisan has undoubtedly lost its cunning. Native archaeologists assert that a good catalogue of "lost, arts" may be made out, notably those of the composition and appli cation of violet lacquer, and the ancient cloisonné enamel. The delicacy of tact, freedom of movement, and perfection of finish visible on Japanese work, are the result of long hereditary application and collcentrated skill. Hidden away in sequestered villages, or occupying the same workshop in cities for centuries, generations of craftsmen wrought upon one class of objects, until from the workman's hand is born the offspring of a long pedigree of thought and dexterity. Japanese antiquarians fix the date of the discovery of lacquer-ware variously at A.D. 724 and 900. Echizen, from the first, has been noted for the abundance and luxuriant yield of lacquer-trees, and the skill of her workmen in extracting the milk-white virgin sap, which the action of the air turns to black, and which by pigments is changed to various colors. In the thirteenth century the art of gold-lacquering attained the zenith of perfection. Various schools of lacquer art were founded, one excelling in landscape, another in marine scenery, or the delineation, in gold and silver powder and varnish, of birds, insects, and flowers. The masters who flourished during the Hōjō period still rule the pencil of the modern artist.
Kiōto, as the civil and military as well as ecclesiastical capital of the empire, was the centre and standard of manners, language, and etiquette, of art, literature, religion, and government. No people are more courtly and polished in their manners than the Japanese, and lily visit, to Kiōto in 1873 impressed me with the fact that the citizens of this proud miako, surpass all others in Japan in refined manners, and the graces of address and etiquette. The direct influences of court life have made themselves perceptibly felt on the inhabitants of the city.
From this centre radiated the multifarious influences which have molded the character of the nation. The conutry priest came as pilgrim to the capital as to the Holy City, to strengthen his faith and cheer his soul amidst its inspirations, to see the primate and magnates of his sect, to pray at the famous shrines, to study in the largest monasteries, under the greatest lights and holiest teachers. Returning to his parish, new sanctity was shed from his rustling robes. His brethren welcomed him with awe, and the people throngred to see and venerate the holy man who had drunk at the very fountains of the faith. The temple coffers grew heavy with the weight of offerings because of him. The sons of the noblemen in distant provinces were sent to Kiōto to be educated, to learn reading and writing from the priests, the perfection of the art of war in the army, the etiquette of palace life as pages to, or as guests of, the court nobles. The artisan or rich merchant from Ōshiu or Kadzŭsa,' who had made the journey to Kiōto, astonished his wondering listeners at home with tales of the splendor of the processions of the mikado, the wealth of the temples, the number of the pagodas, the richness of the silk robes of the court nobles, and the wonder, which the Kiōto potters and vase-makers, sword-forgers, goldsmiths, crystal-cutters, and bronze-molders, daily exposed in their shops in profusion.
In Kiōto also dwelt the poets, novelists, historians, grammarians, writers, and the purists, whose dicta were laws. By them were written the great bulk of the classic literature, embracing poetry, drama, fiction, history, philosophy, etiquette, and the numerous diaries and works oil travel in China, Corea, and the remote provinces of the country, and the book called "mirrors" (kagami) of the times, now so interesting to the antiquarian student. Occasionally nobles or court ladies would leave the luxury of the city, and take up their abode in a castle, tower, pagoda, or temple room, or oil some mountain overlooking Lake Biwa, the sea, or the Yodo River, or the plains of Yamato; and amidst its inspiring scenery, with tiny table, ink-stone and brush, pen some prose epic or romance, that has since become an immortal classic. Almost every mansion of the nobles had its "looking-room," or "Chamber of Inspiring View," whence to gaze upon the landscape or marine scenery. Rooms set apart for this æsthetic pleasure still form a feature of the house of nearly every modern native of means. On many a coigne of vantage may be seen also the summer- houses or rustic booths, where gather pleasure parties on picnics.
In the civil administration of the empire, the chief work was to dispense justice, punish offenders, collect taxes, and settle disputes. After the rude surveys of those days, the boundaries of provinces and departments were marked by inscribed posts of wood or stone. Before the days of writing, the same end was secured by charcoal buried in the earth at certain points, the durability of which insured the mark against decay. The peasants, after the rice-harvest was over, brought their tribute, or taxes, with joyful ceremony, to the government granaries in straw bags, packed on horses gayly decorated with scarlet housings, and jingling with clusters of small bells. A relic of this custom is seen in the bunches of bells suspended by red cotton stuff from the rear of the pack-saddle, which dangle musically from the ungainly haunches of the native, sumpters.
From earliest times there existed séki (gruard grates or barriers) between the various provinces at mountain passes or strategic points. As feudalism developed, they grew more numerous. A fence of palisades, stretched across the road, guarded the path through which, according to time, or orders of the keepers, none could pass with arms, or without the pass-word or passport. Anciently they were erected at the Hakoné and other mountain passes, to keep up the distinction between the Ainōs and the pure Japanese. The possession of these barriers was ever an important object of rival military commanders, and the shifts, devices, and extraordinary artifices resorted to by refugees, disguised worthies, and forbidden characters, furnish the historian, the novelist, and dramatist with some of their most thrilling episodes.
It is related of Yoshitsuné, after he had incurred the wrath of Yoritonio, that, with Benkei, his servant, he arrived at a guard gate kept by some Genji soldiers, who would have been sure to arrest him had they discovered his august personality. Disguised as wandering priests of the Buddhist sect Yama-bushi, they approached the gate, and were challenged by the sentinel, who, like most of his class at that time, was ignorant of writing. Benkei, with great dignity, drawing from his bosom a roll of blank paper, began, after touching it reverently to his forehead, to extemporize and read aloud in choicest and most pious language a commission from the high-priest at the temple of Hokoji, in Kiōto, in which stood the great image of Buddha, authorizing him to collect money to cast a colossal bell for the temple. At the first mention of the name of his reverence the renowned priest, so talismanic, in all the empire, the soldier dropped down on his knees with face to the ground, and listened with reverent awe, unaware that the paper was as blank as the reader's tongue was glib. To further hill suspicion, Benkei apologized for the rude conduct of his servant-boy, who stood during the reading, because he was only a boor just out of the rice-fields; and, giving him a kick, bid him get down on his marrow-bones, and not stand up in the presence of a gentleman and a soldier. The ruse was complete. The illustrious youth and his servant passed on.
Medical science made considerable progress in the course of centuries. The materia medica, system, practice, and literature of the healing art were borrowed from China; but upon these, as upon most other matters, the Japanese improved. Acupuncture, or the introduc tion of needles into living tissues for remedial purposes, was much improved by the Japanese. The puncturing needles, as fine as a hair, were made of gold, silver, or tempered steel, by experts. The bones, large nerves, or blood-vessels were carefully avoided in the process, which enjoyed great repute in cases of a peculiar violent colic, to which the. natives are subject, and which sometimes becomes endemic. On the theory that this malady was caused by wind, holes were made in the stomach or abdomen, to the mystic number of nine - corresponding to the nine apertures of the body. Moxa (Japanese, mokusa; mo, fire, from moyeru, to burn, and kusa, herb, grass), or the burning of a small cone of cottony fibres of the artemisia, on the back or feet, was practiced as early as the eleventh century, reference being made to it in a poem written at that time. A number of ancient stanzas and puns relating to Mount Ibuki, on the sides of which the mugwort grows luxuriantly, are still extant. To this day it is an exception to find the backs of the common people unscarred with the spots left by the moxa. The use of mercury in corrosive sublimate was very anciently known. The dō-sha powder, however, which was said to cure various diseases, and to relax the rigid limbs of a corpse, was manufactured and sold only by the bonzes (Japanese, bōzu) of the Shin Gon sect. It is, and always was, a pious fraud, being nothing but unefficacious quartz sand, mixed with grains of mica and pyrites.
Of the mediæval sports and pastimes within and without of doors, the former were preferred by the weak and effeminate, the latter by the hale and strong. Banquets and carousals in the palace were frequent. The brewing of saké from rice was begun, according to record, in the third century, and the office of chief butler even earlier. The native sauce, shō-yu, made of fermented wheat and beans, with salt and vinegar, which the cunning purveyors of Europe use as the basis of their high-priced piquant suaces, was made and used as early as tile twelfth century. The name of this saline oil (shō, salt; yu, oil) appears as "soy" in our dictionaries, it being one of the three words (soy, bonze, moxa) which have borrowed from the Japanese. At the feasts, besides the wine and delicacies to please the palate, music, song, and dance made the feast of reason and the flow of soul, while witty and beautiful women lent grace and added pleasure to the festivities.
In long trailing robes of white, crimson, or highly figured silk, with hair flowing in luxuriance over the shoulders, and bound gracefully in one long tress which fell below the waist behind, maids and ladies of the palace rained glances and influence upon the favored ones. They fired the heart of admirers by the bewitching beauty of a well- formed hand, foot, neck, face, or form decked with whatever added charms cosmeties could bestow upon them. Japanese ladies have ever been noted for neatness, good taste, and, on proper occasions, splendor and luxuriance of dress. With fan, and waving long sleeve, the language of secret but outwardly decorous passion found ample expression. Kisses, the pressure of the hand, and other symbols of love as expressed in other lands, were then, as now, unknown. In humble life also, in all their social pleasures the two sexes met together to participate in the same delights, with far greater freedom than is known in Asiatic countries. As, however, wives or concubines had not always the attraction, of youth, beauty, wit, maidenly freshness, or skill at the koto, the geisha, or singing-girl, then as now, served the saké, danced, sung, and played, and was rewarded by the gold or gifts of the host, or perhaps became his Hagar. The statement that the empress was attended only by "vestals who had never beheld a man" is disproved by a short study of the volumes of poetry, amorous and otherwise, written by them, and still quoted as classic. As to the standard of virtue in those days, I believe it was certainly not below that of the later Roman empire, and I am inclined to believe it was far above it.
In the court at Kiōto, besides games of skill or chance in the house, were foot-ball, cock-fighting, falconry, horsemanship, and archery. The robust games of the military classes were hunting the boar, deer, bear, and smaller game. Hunting by falcons, which had been introduced by some Corean embassadors in the time of Jingu Kōgō, was almost as extensively practiced as in Europe, almost every feudal lord having his perch of falcons. Fishing by cormorants, though a useful branch. of the fisherman's industry, was also indulged in for pleasure. The severe exercise of hunting for sport, however, never became as absorbing and popular in Japan as in Europe, being confined more to the professional huntsman, and the seeker for daily food. The court ladies shaved off their eyebrows, and painted two sable bars or spots on the forehead resembling false eyebrows. In addition to the gentle tasks of needle-work and embroidery, they passed the time in games of chess, checkers, painted shells, and a diversion peto the palace, in which the skill of the player depended on her sensitiveness in appreciating perfumes, the necessary, articles being vials of fragrant extracts. Their pots were the peculiar little dogs called chin. They stained their teeth black, like the women of the lower classes; an example which the nobles of the sterner sex followed, as they grew more and more effeminate. One of the staple diversions of both sexes at the court was to write poetry, and recite it to each other. The emperor frequently honored a lady or noble by giving the chosen one a subject upon which to compose a poem. A happy thought, skillfully wrought stanza, a felicitous grace of pantomime, often made the poetess a maid of honor, a concubine, or even an empress, and the poet a minister or councilor.
Another favorite means of amusement was to write and read or tell stories - the Scheherezade of these being a beautiful lady, who often composed her own stories. The followinq instance is abbreviated from the Onna Dai Guku ("Woman's Great Study"): Isé no Taiyu was a daughter of Sukéichika, the mikado's minister of festivals, and a highly accomplished lady. None among the ladies of the court could equal her. One day a branch of luxuriant cherry-blossoms was brought from Nara. The emperor gave it to her, and asked her to extemporize a verse. She did so, and the courtiers were all astonished at the beauty and delicate sentiment of the verse.
Here is another: Murasaki Shikibu was the daughter of the lord of Echizen. One day a lady of Kamo asked if there was any new entertaining literature or novels, as the empress-dowager wished to read somethin new. The lady invited Murasaki to write some stories. She, knowing that the great Chinese scholar Shomei completed his collection of the essays of ancient writers by building a high house and secluding himself in it, had a high tower erected at Ishiyama overlooking Lake Biwa, and affording a glorious view of the mountains, especially in the moonlight. There she retired, and one night when the full moon shone upon the waters she was so inspired that she wrote in one night two chapters of the Genji Monogatari, a book containing fifty-four chapters in all, which she finished in a few weeks. She presented it to the empress-dowager, who gave it to the mikado. To this day it is a classic.
Sei Shonagon was the daughter of Kiyowara no Motosŭké. She was one of the imperial concubines. She was well read in Japanese and Chinese literature, and composed poetry almost from infancy, having a wonderful facility of improvisation. One day, after a fall of snow, she looked out from the southern door of the palace. The emperor, having passed round the wine-cup to his lords and ladies at the usual morning assembly of the courtiers and maids of honor, said, "How is the snow of Kuroho?" No one else understood the meaning, but Sei Shonagon instantly stepped forward and drew up the curtains, revealing the mountains decked in fresh-fallen snow. The emperor was delighted, and bestowed upon her a prize. Sei Shonagon had understood his allusion to the line in an ancient poem which ran thus:
"The snow of Kuroho is seen by raising the curtains."Once when a certain kugé was traveling, in a province, he came, on a moonlight night, to a poor village in which the cottages had fallen into picturesque decay, the roofs of which gleamed like silver. The sight of the glorified huts inspired the noble with such a fine frenzy that he sat up all night gazing rapturously on the scene, anon composing stanzas. He was so delighted that he planned to remain in the place several days. The next morning, however, the villagers, hearing of the presence of so illustrious a guest among them, began busily to repair the ruin, and to rethatch the roofs. The kugé, seeing all his poetic visions dispelled by this vandal industry, ordered his bullock- car, and was off, disgusted.
During the first centuries of writing in Japan, the spoken and the written language were identical. With the study of the Chinese literature, and the composition of works by the native literati almost exclusively in that language, grew up differences between the colloquial and literary idiom and terminology. The infusion of a large number of Chinese words into the common speech steadily increased; while the learned affected a pedantic style of conversation, so interlarded with Chinese words, names, and expression, that to the vulgar their discourse was almost unintelligible. Buddhism also made Chinese the vehicle of its teaching, and the people everywhere became familiar, not only with its technical terms, but with its stock phrases and forms of thought. To this day the Buddhist, or sham-religious, way of talking is almost a complete tongue in itself, and a good dictionary always gives the Buddhistic meaning of a word separately. In reading or hearing Japanese, the English-speaking resident contintially stumbles on his own religious cant and orthodox expressions, which he believes too be peculiar to his own atmosphere, that have a meaning entirely different from the natural sense: "this vale of tears," this evil world," "gone his reward," "dust and ashes," "worm of the dust," and many phrases which so many think are exclusively Christian or evangelical, are echoed in Japanese. So much is this true, that the missionaries, in translating religious books, are at first delighted to find exact equivalents for many expressions desirable in technical theology, or for what may fairly be termed pious slang, but will not use them, for fear of misleading the reader, or rather of failing to lead him out of his old notions into the new faith which it is desired to teach. So general have the use and affectation of Chinese become, that in many instances the pedantic Chinese name or word has been retained in the mouths of the people, while the more beautiful native term is almost lost. In general, however, only the men were devoted to Chinese, while the cultivation of the Japanese language was left to the women. This task the women nobly discharged, fully maintaining the credit of the native literature. Mr. W. G. Aston says, "I believe no parallel is to be found in the history of European letters, to the remarkable fact that a very large proportion of the best writings of the best age of Japanese literature was the work of women." The Genji Monogatari is the acknowledged standard of the language for the period to which it belongs, and the parent of the Japanese novel. This, with the classics Isé Monogatari and Makura Zoshi, and much of the poetry of the time, are the works of women.
It is to be noted that the borrowed Chinese words were taken entirely from the written, not the colloquial, language of China, the latter having never been spoken by the Japanese, except by a few interpreters at Nagasaki. The Japanese literary style is more coucise, and retains archaic forms. The colloquial abounds in interjectional and onomatopoetic words and particles, uses a more simple inflection of the verb, and makes profuse use of honorific and polite terms. Though these particles defy translation, they add grace and force to the language. As in the English speech, the child of the wedded Saxon and Norman, the words which express the wants, feelings, and concerns of every-day life - all that is deepest in the human heart - are for the most part native; the technical, scientific, and abstract terms are foreign. Hence, if we would find the fountains of the musical and beautiful language of Japan, we must seek them in the hearts, and hear them flow from the lips, of the mothers, of the Island Empire. Among the anomalies with which Japan has surprised or delighted the world may be claimed that of woman's achievements in the domain of letters. It was woman's genius, not man's, that made the Japanese a literary language. Moses established the Hebrew, Alfred the Saxon, and Luther the German tongue in permanent form; but in Japan, the. mobile forms of speech crystallized into perennial beauty under the touch of woman's hand.