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The Soul of the Far East   By: (1855-1916)

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In The Soul of the Far East, Percival Lowell takes the reader on a captivating journey through the cultural and spiritual landscape of Japan. Published in 1888, this book serves as a window into a Japan that is both profoundly mystical and steeped in ancient traditions.

Lowell delves deep into the heart and soul of the Japanese people, exploring their unique philosophy, religious beliefs, and customs. One of the most striking aspects of this book is the author's ability to weave together his personal experiences with extensive research, creating a comprehensive and insightful narrative.

Throughout the chapters, Lowell provides vivid descriptions of Japanese society, aesthetics, and artistic expression. He delves into topics such as Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, and the influence of Chinese philosophy on Japanese thought. This exploration of Eastern ideologies is done with great respect and curiosity, presenting an objective and balanced view of the different belief systems.

What makes The Soul of the Far East stand out is Lowell's ability to transcend cultural boundaries and provide a bridge between the East and the West. He brings the reader closer to understanding the subtle nuances and complexities of Japanese culture, acting as a knowledgeable guide through unfamiliar terrain.

Furthermore, Lowell's elegant prose and articulate writing style make this book a pleasure to read. He effortlessly creates vivid imagery, allowing readers to visualize the beauty of Japan and its rich heritage. This poetic style adds an extra layer of enchantment to the already engaging content.

However, it is important to note that The Soul of the Far East was written over a century ago, and some of the author's observations and opinions could be seen as outdated or influenced by the colonial mindset of the time. Readers should approach certain passages with a critical eye, recognizing the potential biases or cultural misunderstandings that may arise.

Despite this, The Soul of the Far East remains an invaluable resource for those seeking to explore and appreciate Japanese culture. It offers a profound glimpse into the spiritual essence of the country, presenting a holistic portrayal of its people and their way of life.

Overall, Percival Lowell's The Soul of the Far East is a timeless classic that transcends its era, serving as a groundbreaking introduction to the cultural heritage of Japan. With its captivating narrative and insightful reflections, this book serves as a testament to the enduring power of cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

First Page:


By Percival Lowell


Chapter 1. Individuality

Chapter 2. Family

Chapter 3. Adoption

Chapter 4. Language

Chapter 5. Nature and Art

Chapter 6. Art

Chapter 7. Religion

Chapter 8. Imagination

Chapter 1. Individuality.

The boyish belief that on the other side of our globe all things are of necessity upside down is startlingly brought back to the man when he first sets foot at Yokohama. If his initial glance does not, to be sure, disclose the natives in the every day feat of standing calmly on their heads, an attitude which his youthful imagination conceived to be a necessary consequence of their geographical position, it does at least reveal them looking at the world as if from the standpoint of that eccentric posture. For they seem to him to see everything topsy turvy. Whether it be that their antipodal situation has affected their brains, or whether it is the mind of the observer himself that has hitherto been wrong in undertaking to rectify the inverted pictures presented by his retina, the result, at all events, is undeniable. The world stands reversed, and, taking for granted his own uprightness, the stranger unhesitatingly imputes to them an obliquity of vision, a state of mind outwardly typified by the cat like obliqueness of their eyes... Continue reading book >>

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