Picturesque Japan or Land of the Mikado

The actual full title of the book, which was published in 1910.

I got this book since it was so old, and it's filled with interesting pictures and drawings of the Japan of that time. It also has a lot of information on Japan, including festivals, history, customs, etc.

One of the first things I found interesting was the way it spelled some words. Tokyo was spelled Tokio; Kyoto was spelled Kioto, and Korea was spelled Corea.

In talking about religion, the author says:

“Far from being natural religion, paganism is the enemy of human nature, the religion of denaturalized man, and thence it is that, seen in action, it fills one with an indescribable pain, an instinctive repulsion which seems to me to come from that especial characteristics, rather than to be the effect of our Christian education.”

The author's prejudice against Shinto and Buddhism is quite obvious.

The author talks about how short the Japanese are, comparing them to “the men of the Germanic race...” This is sort of confusing to me. What is he referring to, if not some early notion of Aryan superiority.

He writes about attending a sumo match (although he doesn't use that term; he uses wrestling as a term), and refers to it as repulsive.

In talking about Japanese women, he refers to a book called The Greater Learning for Women which notes “The five worst maladies that afflict the female mind” which include indocility, discontent, slander, jealousy, and silliness. He adds “Without any doubt these five maladies infest seven or eight out of every ten women, and it is from these that arises the inferiority of women to men.”

That's another reason I enjoy looking at these really old books; it shows just how stupid some of the thinking was back then.

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