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A Fantasy of Far Japan Summer Dream Dialogues   By: (1855-1920)

Book cover

First Page:

A FANTASY OF FAR JAPAN

or

Summer Dream Dialogues

By

BARON SUYEMATSU

Author of 'THE RISEN SUN'

London

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND COMPANY, LTD.

1905

LE SAMURAI

C'était un homme à deux sabres.

D'un doigt distrait frôlant la sonore bîva, A travers les bambous tressés en fine latte, Elle a vu, par la plage éblouissante et plate, S'avancer le vainqueur que son amour rêva.

C'est lui. Sabres au flanc, l'éventail haut, il va. La cordelière rouge et le gland écarlate Coupent l'armure sombre, et, sur l'épaule, éclate Le blason de Hizen et de Tokugawa.

Ce beau guerrier vêtu de lames et de plaques Sous le bronze, la soie et les brillantes laques Semble un crustacé noir, gigantesque et vermeil.

Il l'a vue. Il sourit dans la barbe du masque, Et son pas plus hâtif fait reluire au soleil Les deux antennes d'or qui tremblent à son casque.

JOSÉ MARIA DE HEREDIA.

PREFACE

In the following pages I have depicted certain Japanese ideals and notions, as well as some historical facts which seemed likely to interest those of the sympathetic Western public who may be inclined to study the mental side of Japan.

The dialogues are founded upon actual conversations, not indeed always in exactly the same phraseology, nor under exactly the same circumstances, but something very like. The questions put into the mouths of the characters in the book are the kind of questions which are being constantly put to me, and my answers are always on the same lines; so that my readers may regard the book as a serious treatise so far as the materials are concerned. This is the reason why I have written this book in a light, conversational style, and not in the form of an ordinary critical or expository treatise. Besides, I thought that more lucidity of exposition and more penetration into the inner views could be achieved by writing in the way I have done.

The period to which these conversations relate is chiefly the summer of the present year, 1905, and the greater part of this book was written before peace was concluded, and therefore there may be occasionally some dicta which sound somewhat polemic. On that point I can request my readers to show leniency.

I have appended to the dialogues a few papers on various subjects. They deal with subjects germane to those treated in the body of the work, and it is hoped that they will afford the reader first aid in acquiring information relative to the analysis of Japanese social life which has here, however imperfectly, been attempted.

I may add a few words. In publishing this volume, I am not in the least degree actuated by a desire to exalt my country unduly, still less to boast about her achievements. My sole object has been to show Japan as she is, and to claim Occidental sympathy to such a degree as she may deserve.

K.S.

PARIS, November 1905 .

CONTENTS

I

The issue of the war Some Forecasts English and French papers Political situation in the summer of 1905 Beaconsfield Japanese fictions and their plots Some similarities between the customs of Greece, Rome, and Japan Love stories A Japanese love tale Custom of adoption Jane Eyre and Japan Japanese art Japanese gardening Full description of marriage ceremonies Preliminary inquiries Description of the rooms, and decorations Butterflies The banquet Wedding presents Position of the women in Japan Japanese mothers and wives A Samurai mother illustrated by a drama Lays of Ancient Rome and Commandant Hirosé Japanese notions of pardon and forgiving Trip to Japan

II

Greek inspiration Semitic sympathy Religion Difference between Japanese and European chivalry What is the Bushi? The weakest point of a hereditary military organisation Introduction of the new system New commoners and the history of their emancipation Combination of democratic ideas and conservative traditions Old bottles and new wine The Great Change of 1867 Napoleon Negligence of a proper estimation Scenery of Japan History of Tokio European and Japanese method of dwelling President Roosevelt and jiujitsu

III

Japanese art and the West Night fêtes Sale of flowers and plants Singing Insects A discussion on the moon, flowers, snow, etc... Continue reading book >>




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