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breeze to swell the sails and allow the boatmen a respite from their toil. But all this hard labor developed, of course, a strength of limb and a power of endurance that even in recent years have enabled the Japanese soldiers to march and fight in either the piercing cold and deep snow of Manchuria or the blistering heat of Formosa. A life of constant outdoor exposure to wind, rain, cold, or heat has toughened and browned the skin, and made an altogether hardy race out of the common people; while the lack of this regular exercise and calisthenic training has left its mark in the comparatively weak constitutions of those who travelled, not on their own feet, but on the shoulders of others.
The common vehicles of the olden days were ordinary carts for freight and norimono and kago for passengers. The norimono is a good-sized sedan-chair or palanquin, in which the rider can sit in a fairly comfortable position. The kago is a sort of basket in which the traveller takes a half-sitting, half-reclining posture, not altogether comfortable — at least for tall foreigners. At present the norimono is seldom if ever employed except for corpses or invalids, but the kago is still used in mountainous regions, where nothing else is available. It must be understood, of course, that the nobles and their retainers often rode on horseback; but the great mass of the people walked and the few rode in kago or norimono.
Now, however, modes of travel have changed greatly, and are changing year by year. There are still many pedestrians; the kago is yet to be seen; boats are propelled by stern-end oar or laboriously pushed along with poles; and pack-horses and oxen
even in the streets of Tōkyō — are in frequent use. But there are many other means of communication and transportation. There have come into use the horse-car, the stage, the jinrikisha, the railroad, with the telegraph and the telephone; the modern rowboat, the steamboat; the bicycle, the automobile, and the electric railway, with the electric light to show the road by night. An excellent postal system and various other modern contrivances for facilitating the means of communication have been adopted.
The most common mode of conveyance at present, in all possible localities, is the jin-riki-sha (man-powercarriage), or “Pull-man car,” as it has been wittily called. This is a two-wheeled “small gig," or large baby-carriage, pulled by one or more men. A ride in a jinrikisha, after one has become accustomed to human labor in that capacity, is really comfortable and delightful. The coolies who pull these vehicles develop swiftness and endurance, but are comparatively short-lived. There is also a two-wheeled freight cart manipulated in the same fashion. It has been estimated that in Tōkyō alone there are more than 700,000 hand-carts, almost 200,000 jinrikishas, about 10,000 ox-carts, more than 25,000 other freight carts, and almost 3,000 omnibuses and horse-cars. The business of transportation there furnishes occupation to thousands of people, but gives to each engaged therein only a scanty remuneration, which is often
insufficient for the support of life, after the tax has been paid. The fee for a jinrikisha ride averages about 10 or 12 sen per ri (2} miles), or varies from 10 to 20 sen per hour. If a coolie makes 50 sen in one day, he is fortunate, and is lucky to average 25 or 30 sen per day; for some days he may be wearily waiting and watching from dawn to the dead of night without receiving scarcely a copper. Hard, indeed, is their lot; and their death rate is rather low.1
But even the jinrikisha will eventually be supplanted for long journeys wherever a railroad goes. There are now in Japan about 4,000 miles of railway, and at least 1,200 miles more are said to be absolutely necessary. There is one continuous line of railroad from Aomori in the extreme north to Shimonoseki in the extreme south of the main island, and then, after crossing the Straits of Shimonoseki, there is another unbroken line from Moji to Nagasaki and Kagoshima or Kumamoto. In the island of Yezo (Hokkaidō) is a short line built by American engineers after American models; but all other railroads in Japan were built and are operated according to the British methods. The rate of fare is 1 sen per mile for third class, 2 sen for second class, and 3 sen for first class, and the rate of speed rarely exceeds 20 or 25 miles per hour; but fortunately the people are not in such a hurry as Americans. Recently, however, express trains, running at the rate of 30 or more miles per hour, have been started on several of the roads, especially between large and important places. Diningcars and sleeping-cars, too, may be found on some of the lines; and the American check system is used for baggage. The government owns most of the railways, and has been contemplating for some time the policy of buying up all the private lines. This may be desirable from a strategic point of view; but from the business standpoint it is not advisable, for the government lines are not well managed. The best line in the country is a private one, the Sanyō Railway Company, operating west from Kõbe.1
1 “Unlike ordinary laborers jinrikisha men have always to work in the open air, often in defiance of the elements, and irrespective of day or night. Sometimes they are covered from head to foot with dust and at other times drenched to the skin with water. Then again they experience a constant change in their bodily temperature, at one time perspiring from their arduous exertions, and at another shivering with cold. No one can doubt that such quick change in bodily temperature will sooner or later tell on the health of those unfortunate victims. At every street corner they are to be found on the eager look-out for customers, but exhaustion soon asserts its claim over them, as they invariably doze whenever and wherever they have the chance.”
Railroads have been naturally accompanied, and often preceded, by telegraph lines, which now keep the various parts of the empire in close communication with Tōkyō and with each other. During 1901 the telegrams numbered over 16,000,000, and are increasing rapidly in number every year. The Japanese syllabary has lent itself easily to a code like the Morse Code. Telephones, too, have been
1 See Appendix for important railway statistics.
2 Japan is also in cable communication with the rest of the world via both Hongkong and Vladivostock; and press rates are available.
introduced and are growing in favor so rapidly that the government cannot keep up with the petitions for installation. According to the latest reports, there were 10,554 telephones in Tōkyō, while 11,015 more were applied for. There are many public slot telephones, which can be used for a few minutes for 5 sen.
Horse-cars are largely used in cities, but are being gradually supplanted by electric cars. The bus in the city and the stage in the country are in common use, but cannot be recommended for comfort. Bicycles are very popular, and are cheaply manufactured in Japan; even Japanese women have begun to ride, while young men are very skilful as trick riders and rapid as “scorchers.” Automobiles also are coming into a limited use.
In a country where formerly no ships large enough to make long voyages were allowed to be made, steamship companies are now flourishing. The Osaka Shõsen Kwaisha (Osaka Merchant Marine Company) is a very large and prosperous corporation, whose business is chiefly the coasting trade, but which also runs to Formosa, the Ryūkyū Islands, the Bonin Islands, Korea, and China. But the largest steamship company in Japan, and one of the largest in the world, is the Nippon Yūsen Kwaisha (Japan Mail Steamship Company). It has a fleet of 76 vessels with 242,000 tons; and maintains not only a frequent coasting service, but also several foreign lines, to Siberia, Korea, China, India, Australia, Europe, and America. This is the line which runs