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rendered the larger part of their income, and, without a murmur, accepted inglorious poverty in the shape of pensions which amounted to but a few pence per day, and which barely kept the men from starvation.
The compensation paid to the nobles for surrendering their lands and, with the lands, their incomes to the State, the pensioning of the Samurai, and the rearrangement of finances from their local basis to an Imperial basis, was an enormous financial transaction of stupendous difficulty. The loans raised in connection with this vast national reorganisation amounted to no less than 225,514,800 yen, or to the truly enormous sum of about 40,000,0001. It speaks volumes for the financial strength of the country and for the consummate ability of the Japanese financiers that this enormous operation was satisfactorily carried out, and that by 1903 all but the trifling amount of 23,800,111 yen had been redeemed.
Many enlightened Japanese shared the opinion of the great educationalist, Fukuzawa Yukichi, who fearlessly declared : The Government exists for the people, and not the people for the Government; the Government officials are the servants of the people, and the people are their employers.' Hence the desire for representative government arose in Japan soon after the reformation, though the Japanese had hitherto only known government by despotism. Though the Japanese people had had no experience whatever of popular government, the Mikado and his advisers had so much confidence in the good sense and the patriotism of the nation that they decided upon giving the people a share in the government of the country. On the 12th October, 1881, the Mikado issued the famous declaration, in which he said :
We have long intended to establish gradually a constitutional form of government. . . . It was with this object in view that we established the Senate in 1875, and authorised the formation of local assemblies in 1878. ... We there. fore hereby declare that we shall establish a Parliament in 1890, in order to carry into full effect the determination which we have announced; and we charge our faithful subjects bearing our commissions to make in the meantime all necessary preparations to that end.
With the deliberate cautiousness and foresight which is characteristic of all Japanese action, the people were, step by step, introduced and accustomed to self-government. When the Senate had settled down, the local assemblies were created, and when the local assemblies had proved their worth, it was announced that ten years hence a Parliament should be elected. Thus the leaders of public opinion had ample time to prepare the nation for the coming change, and were enabled to educate the electorate for their coming duties.
In consequence of this careful preparation and this wise delay the Japanese Parliament has proved a great success. The elections cause no excitement, the people record their votes with the full knowledge of their responsibility, and Parliament works with ability and decorum. Lengthy speeches are unknown in that assembly, and the House gets through an immense amount of work in an incredibly short time. Parliamentary peroration and obstruction are practically unknown in Japan, though there have been not a few political struggles and dissolutions. However, party struggles are confined to domestic politics.
The reconstitution of the body politic of Japan was crowned on the 1st of April, 1890, when the Mikado solemnly promulgated a Constitution for Japan. Whilst in all other monarchical countries the Constitution had to be wrested from an unwilling Sovereign by the force, and not infrequently by the violence, of the people, Japan is the only country in the world which can boast of a monarch who has voluntarily divested himself of a part of his rights, and who has by his own free will granted a participation in the government to his subjects.
This short sketch of one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of the world clearly proves that Japan's marvellous progress and her astonishing change from mediæval Orientalism to modern Western culture is in no way a fact that can cause surprise.
Though the Japanese are an extremely gifted people, they are, individually, probably no more talented than are the inhabitants of many other countries. Japan's progress has no doubt been meteoric, and her complete adoption of Western culture has certainly been startling. But her progress and her transformation appear only natural if we remember that Japan is a nation in which everybody, from the highest to the lowest, in all circumstances, unflinchingly obeys the rule : 'The imperative duty of man in his capacity of a subject is to sacrifice his private interests to the public good. Egoism forbids co-operation, and without co-operation there cannot be any great achievement.'
The individualistic nations of the West in which the interests of the nation are only too often sacrificed to the selfish interests of the individual, where party loyalty is apt to take precedence over patriotism, where ministers, generals, and admirals are rarely appointed by merit only, where jobbery occurs even in time of war, and where everything is considered permitted that is not actually punished by law, will do well to learn from Japan's example, for it cannot be doubted that the cause of Japan's greatness and of Japan's success can be summed up in the one word-patriotism.
THE WOMEN OF KOREA
THERE is, perhaps, no country about the womankind of which so little is known as of Korea. And one cannot be astonished at this fact, as the women themselves have been kept as much shut off from contact with the outer world as the peninsula itself has been shut off. Not even a medical man is allowed to have access to their rooms. The Japanese staff surgeon, Dr. Massano Kaike, tried every. thing possible to break down this rigid isolation, but all his endeavours proved fruitless. Then he sent for his own wife, and as she found less difficulty in obtaining access to the secluded women's apartments, he instructed her to find out what was going on within those dwellings. The result of this step was that he published the gist of the observations made in the International Archive of Ethnography.
According to what can be read there, it is not at all correct to assert, as is often done, that the woman (wife) obtains no consideration on the part of the man (husband). The fact that he fully knows how to value her as the mother of the coming generation shows itself clearly in the special care which he bestows on her when he expects the birth of a child.
A rope stretched across the entrance to the house indicates the birth of a child. If it is a boy, a piece of coal and a leaf are fastened to it; if it is a girl, nothing is attached to the rope. The Koreans have the curious habit of not counting their daughters as members of the family—at least, not in public. If a father is asked how many children he has got, he always gives as answer the number of his sons. One can only learn of the existence of a daughter by very particular close inquiries. They have special names only up to the age of seven, after which they only bear the father's surname, and are henceforth known only as daughter, sister, or wife of some man.
When a child has become able to walk a dog is obtained, even in the poorest families, which is carefully trained to follow the child everywhere in its little rambles to protect it. Of course, it is not a rare occurrence that just the opposite takes place. According to the Korean idea, the mental development of the child is helped on by the influence of light, and on that account the lamp in the children's room is never put out.
In education the separation between boys and girls takes place in the eighth year. The boys then are taught all branches of knowledge considered necessary for their future calling, but the education of girls in a good family is limited to the study of maxims of morality and to the knowledge of the ceremonies in connection with the religious cultus of ancestors ; in the huts of the poor people the girls are taught only dressmaking and all sorts of needlework. As a matter of fact, the women of the lower class are particularly clever in the use of the needle. This is easily proved by the garments exhibited in the Museum of Ethnography in Berlin, and in the Brussels Museum. The embroideries on the silk undergarments are executed with extraordinary skill. In Berlin there is, among other articles, also one of the famous white garments which the Koreans are particularly fond of wearing, and which owe their existence to the uncommonly long period of mourning for their dead. As the Koreans are obliged to dress in white for three years for every case of death, and as once three kings died within ten years, by which deaths mourning was imposed on the whole nation, the majority of people chose rather to dress continually in white in order to avoid the great expenses involved by a repeated change of clothing.
The women make these garments, and every time they have to be washed they are entirely taken to pieces, and these are beaten for hours with a wooden bat in order to obtain the metallic gloss which is considered particularly beautiful. In the Berlin Museum there is one of these bats, which is made of cedar wood, and in shape is like a moderately large wine bottle flattened on one side. · The Koreans are one of the few races in which the girl is developed later than the boy. In consequence the wives are nearly always a few years older than the husbands.
The customs connected with a Korean marriage are as follows : The man sends by a friend a written formal request for the hand of the girl whom he has chosen, and her family send a written reply. If the offer is accepted, there follows an exchange of papers of identity, in which particular attention is given to the exact date and hour of birth, as they have to fix the day of the calendar which is specially favourable and propitious for the intended marriage. On that day the place for the ceremony is prepared at the house of the bride underneath the outside entrance staircase. The bridegroom, dressed in the proper garments, comes driving or riding, accompanied by his father, dismounts outside the gate, and walks, with his face turned to the north, to the spot prepared for the ceremony. There the bridegroom, in kneeling position, puts down his present for the bride, which consists of a wild goose, in default of which a carved one can be substituted; he bows twice, retires a short distance, and then stops, with his face turned to the west. The reason of the existence of this curious present is to be found in a legend which tells how a hunter had once shot the male of a wild goose, and had always seen the poor goose come back to visit the spot where her mate had been killed. This present, therefore, means to intimate the hope and expectation that the wife shall show equal faithfulness to her husband, and after it has been given the two parties give each other the promise of eternal faith by using the following words : ‘Now our hair is as black as the feathers of the wild goose, but even if it should turn white as the fibre of the bulbous root we will still hold together as faithfully as we do this day.'
The bride that day puts on, for the first time in her life, the complete Korean woman's dress. Her face is powdered, the eyebrows are painted black, the lips coloured with safflower. Three hairpins with gold birds of paradise adorn the head, covered with a light hat. An upper garment of variegated pattern, with purple shoulder-bands, and a nether garment of scarlet are held round the waist by a white girdle five inches wide. White cuffs covering the hands, white stockings, and silk shoes of red, purple, green, or blue, complete the costume.
With slow steps, supported by three festively dressed waitingwomen, the bride descends the staircase, steps on to the place prepared for the ceremony, and stops, with her face covered with the fan and turned to the east. She then bows twice to the bridegroom, who returns the same compliment. After that, two vessels, one adorned with red, the other with blue ribbons, are filled with wine by two maidservants and handed by them to the bride and bridegroom. They both take a sip at the same time, and this act concludes the ceremonial of the wedding. Then they are separately conducted into the house. The bridegroom and his father are invited to the banquet, at which all the relations of the bride take part. After its conclusion the bridegroom drives home to his house, but the bride does not follow him till the next propitious calendar day.
And now begins a life of complete seclusion for the Korean wife. She may not show herself to any married man but her own husband—nay, not even to the other male members of her own family.
In former times, as soon as the gates were closed at night, all men, especially in Seoul, used to go into their houses, and no man showed himself in the darkness of the street, because the ladies of the rich classes had the privilege of going out at that time. Deeply veiled, with their tiny paper lanterns in their hand, they would glide along from house to house to visit their lady friends. But recently this custom, which was formerly affirmed by law, has come into disuse. Thieves had profited by these nocturnal visits of ladies, and had often robbed them of their jewels, and as the police were not able to