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Letters from China and Japan   By: (1859-1952)

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LETTERS FROM CHINA AND JAPAN

BY

JOHN DEWEY, Ph.D., LL.D.

PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

AND

ALICE CHIPMAN DEWEY

Edited by

EVELYN DEWEY

NEW YORK E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY 681 FIFTH AVENUE

Copyright, 1920,

By E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

All Rights Reserved

Printed in the United States of America

PREFACE

John Dewey, Professor of Philosophy in Columbia University, and his wife, Alice C. Dewey, who wrote the letters reproduced in this book, left the United States early in 1919 for a trip to Japan. The trip was eagerly embarked on, as they had desired for many years to see at least something of the Eastern Hemisphere. The journey was to be solely for pleasure, but just before their departure from San Francisco, Professor Dewey was invited, by cable, to lecture at the Imperial University at Tokyo, and later at a number of other points in the Japanese Empire. They traveled and visited in Japan for some three to four months and in May, after a most happy experience, made doubly so by the unexpected courtesies extended them, they decided to go on to China, at least for a few weeks, before returning to the United States.

The fascination of the struggle going on in China for a unified and independent democracy caused them to alter their plan to return to the United States in the summer of 1919. Professor Dewey applied to Columbia University for a year's leave of absence, which was granted, and with Mrs. Dewey, is still in China. Both are lecturing and conferring, endeavoring to take some of the story of a Western Democracy to an Ancient Empire, and in turn are enjoying an experience, which, as the letters indicate, they value as a great enrichment of their own lives. The letters were written to their children in America, without thought of their ever appearing in print.

EVELYN DEWEY.

NEW YORK, January 5th, 1920.

LETTERS FROM CHINA AND JAPAN

TOKYO, Monday, February.

Well, if you want to see one mammoth, muddy masquerade just see Tokyo to day. I am so amused all the time that if I were to do just as I feel, I should sit down or stand up and call out, as it were, from the housetops to every one in the world to come and see the show. If it were not for the cut of them I should think that all the cast off clothing had been misdirected and had gone to Japan instead of Belgium. But they are mostly as queer in cut as they are in material. Imagine rummaging your attic for the colors and patterns of past days and then gathering up kimonos of all the different colors and patterns and sizes and with it all a lot of men's hats that are like nothing you ever saw, and very muddy streets, and there you have it. The 'ricksha men have their legs fitted with tight trousers and puttees to end them, and they are graceful. They run all day, through the mud and snow and wet in these things made of cotton cloth that are neither stockings nor shoes but both, and they stand about or sit on steps and wait, and yet they get through the day alive. I am distracted between the desire to ride in the baby cart and the fear of the language, mixed with the greater fear of the pain of being drawn by a fellow being. They are a lithe set of little men and look as if they had steel springs to make them go when you look at their course. Still I have been only in autos, of which there are not many here. I get tired with the excitement of the constant amusement. This morning a man came out of a curio shop. Bow. "Exguse me, madame, is this not Mrs. Daway? I knew you because I saw your picture in the paper. Will you not come in and look at our many curios? I shall have the pleasure of bringing them to your hotel. What is the number of your room, madame?" Bow. "No, please do not bring them to my room, for I am always out. I will come in and see them sometime." "Thank you, madame, please do so, madame, we have many fine curios." Bow. "Good morning, madame."

The looks of the streets are like the clothes, just left over from the past ages... Continue reading book >>




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