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mighty force in holding the Japanese true to a high standard in matters of taste, by combining “æsthetic eclecticism of the most fastidious nature with the severest canons of simplicity and austerity.” The end has been achieved not so much by the elaborate code as through what it stands for; the ceremony being in reality a gathering of connoisseurs to view works of art, each of which to win favor must meet the requirements of the most exacting taste. Out of the æsthetic necessity of making fitting disposition of the flowers introduced into the tea-room, grew the art of Ike-bana, or flower arrangement. This has gradually come to have an elaborate code of its own, and several distinct “ schools” have-arisen. In a general way it may be said that the art consists in arranging flowers with regard to harmonious composition of line, while keeping in mind certain poetic analogies which must not be violated, and the appearance of vitality and natural growth. Here, again, the principles of composition in painting find their application.
Still another application is found in landscape gardening, which in the hands of the Japanese is also a fine art. This too has its different “schools” and its special code of rules, formulated during the many centuries of development at the hands of successive generations of artists.
Japan is, in truth, a shining example of the essential unity of all the arts, and illustrates admirably the truth of the old saying, Natura artis magister (Nature the mistress of art). Unfortunately, what has been said in this chapter applies more to Old Japan than to the Japan of to-day. Modern Japan, whether rightly or wrongly, is becoming tired of being praised for æsthetic excellence, and is more anxious to be appraised and appreciated for its material, social, commercial, and political “progress.” To the cultivated Japanese, who regard art as the highest outcome and flowering of civilization, this tendency is not encouraging. And as to the future of Japanese art, its perpetuation must come from excluding rather than attempting to amalgamate Western ideas. In the impressive words of Okakura, the outcome will be “victory from within, or a mighty death without.”
Painting : “ The Pictorial Arts of Japan ” (Anderson); “Cata
logue of Japanese and Chinese Paintings in the British Mu
seum" (Anderson); “The Painters of Japan" (Morrison). Prints : " An Outline of the History of Ukiyo-ye” (Fenollosa);
“Geschichte des Japanischen Farbenholzschnitts” (Seidlitz); “Japanese Illustration” (Strange); “ Japanese Wood Engravings" (Anderson); “Japanese Wood-cutting and Wood
cut Printing” (Tokuno). Pottery : “ Catalogue of the Morse Collection of Japanese
Pottery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston ” (Morse); “Japan : Its History, Art, and Literature” (Brinkley); “Keramic Art
of Japan" (Audsley and Bowes); "L'Art Japonais" (Gonse). Glyptic. Art: “ Histoire de l'Art du Japan,” published by the
Japanese Commission for the Paris Exposition of 1900. This work contains much information about all the arts, not
available elsewhere. Metal Work — Lacquer : “The Industries of Japan” (Rein);
“ Notes on Shippo” (Bowes); “Ornamental Arts of Japan"
(Audsley); "L'Art Japonais" (Gonse); "Japan and its
Art” (Huish). Music: “ The Music and Musical Instruments of Japan”
(Piggott); "Miyako-Dori" (Bevan). Poetry: “ History of Japanese Literature” (Aston); “ Classical
Poetry of the Japanese ” (Chamberlain); “ Japanese Odes”
(Dickins). Drama : Artistic Japan,” vol. v. (edited by S. Bing). Flower Arrangement : “ The Flowers of Japan and the Art of
Floral Arrangement” (Conder). Landscape-Gardening: “Landscape-Gardening in Japan”
(Conder). General : “An Artist's Letters from Japan” (La Farge); "Jin
rikisha Days in Japan ” (Scidmore).
CHAPTER XVII 1
DISESTABLISHMENT OF SHINTO
OUTLINE OF TOPICS : Religion in Japan; Shinto; a “natural religion”; simple services; religious patriotism; perfunctory worship; Shinto doomed “as a religion”; secularization of Ise shrines; element of embarrassment to Christians ; "worship” (?) of Emperor's portrait; difficulties in translation of Christian terms; method of reforms in Japan; future of Shinto. — Bibliography.
TT is a curious fact that Japan cannot boast of an
indigenous religion, or of much original mental I or moral philosophy. “ Shinto” (The Gods' Way), purely Japanese in its origin, is only a cult, a system of worship, not a religion, or even a philosophy. Buddhism and Confucianism came in from China, perhaps through Korea, and Christianity entered from Europe and America.
Shinto is a system in which the deification and worship of heroes, emperors, family ancestors, and forces of nature play an important part. It has no dogmas, no sacred books, no moral code, “no philosophy, no code of ethics, no metaphysics"; it sums up its theory of human duty in the following injunction: “Follow your natural impulses and obey the laws of
1 A large portion of this chapter is reprinted, by permission, from “ The Standard,” Chicago.
the State.”i It requires of its adherents nothing except worship at certain temples or shrines on stated days. A “pure Shinto” temple is an exceedingly plain affair, in front of which, at a little distance, is invariably set a torii, or arch. Without idols, the temple contains, as emblems of Shinto, strips of paper hanging from a wand, together with a mirror. The form of ordinary worship is simple: it consists of washing the face, or hands, or both, with holy water; of ringing a bell, or clapping the hands, to call the god's attention; of casting in a coin as an offering; of standing with clasped hands during a short
a short prayer, and of making a farewell bow. This ceremony is sufficient to “cover a multitude of sins”! At the regular festivals there are special and elaborate services, at which the priests (often laymen) officiate. Pilgrimages to holy spots, usually “high places,” are important in Shinto.
But Shintö seems destined to decay as naturally as it developed. According to the best authorities, it was, in the original and purest form, ancestorworship combined with the worship of nature. That is to say, it arose from the natural reverence paid to ancestors, whether individual or national, and from
1 “Shinto signifies character in the highest sense, - courage, courtesy, honor, and, above all things, loyalty. The spirit of Shinto is the spirit of filial piety (Lat. pietas), the zest of duty, the readiness to surrender life for a principle. . . It is the docility of the child; it is the sweetness of the Japanese woman. . . It is religion - but religion transmuted into hereditary moral impulse — religion transmuted into ethical instinct. It is the whole emotional life of the race, — the Soul of Japan.” — HEARN.