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Tales of Old Japan

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PREFACE

In the Introduction to the story of the Forty-seven Rônins, I have said almost as much as is needful by way of preface to my stories.

Those of my readers who are most capable of pointing out the many shortcomings and faults of my work, will also be the most indulgent towards me; for any one who has been in Japan, and studied Japanese, knows the great difficulties by which the learner is beset.

For the illustrations, at least, I feel that I need make no apology. Drawn, in the first instance, by one Ôdaké, an artist in my employ, they were cut on wood by a famous wood-engraver at Yedo, and are therefore genuine specimens of Japanese art. Messrs. Dalziel, on examining the wood blocks, pointed out to me, as an interesting fact, that the lines are cut with the grain of the wood, after the manner of Albert Dürer and some of the old German masters,—a process which has been abandoned by modern European wood-engravers.

It will be noticed that very little allusion is made in these Tales to the Emperor and his Court. Although I searched diligently, I was able to find no story in which they played a conspicuous part.

Another class to which no allusion is made is that of the Gôshi. The Gôshi are a kind of yeomen, or bonnet-lairds, as they would be called over the border, living on their own land, and owning no allegiance to any feudal lord. Their rank is inferior to that of the Samurai, or men of the military class, between whom and the peasantry they hold a middle place. Like the Samurai, they wear two swords, and are in many cases prosperous and wealthy men claiming a descent more ancient than that of many of the feudal Princes. A large number of them are enrolled among the Emperor's body-guard; and these have played a conspicuous part in the recent political changes in Japan, as the most conservative and anti-foreign element in the nation.

With these exceptions, I think that all classes are fairly represented in my stories.

The feudal system has passed away like a dissolving view before the eyes of those who have lived in Japan during the last few years. But when they arrived there it was in full force, and there is not an incident narrated in the following pages, however strange it may appear to Europeans, for the possibility and probability of which those most competent to judge will not vouch. Nor, as many a recent event can prove, have heroism, chivalry, and devotion gone out of the land altogether. We may deplore and inveigh against the Yamato Damashi, or Spirit of Old Japan, which still breathes in the soul of the Samurai, but we cannot withhold our admiration from the self-sacrifices which men will still make for the love of their country.

The first two of the Tales have already appeared in the Fortnightly Review, and two of the Sermons, with a portion of the Appendix on the subject of the Hara-Kiri, in the pages of the Cornhill Magazine. I have to thank the editors of those periodicals for permission to reprint them here.

LONDON, January 7, 1871.


CONTENTS

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS1

THE FORTY-SEVEN RÔNINS 1

THE LOVES OF GOMPACHI AND KOMURASAKI 20

KAZUMA'S REVENGE 38

A STORY OF THE OTOKODATÉ OF YEDO 54

THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF FUNAKOSHI JIUYÉMON 91

THE ETA MAIDEN AND THE HATAMOTO 115

FAIRY TALES 133

THE TONGUE-CUT SPARROW 135

THE ACCOMPLISHED AND LUCKY TEA-KETTLE 138

THE CRACKLING MOUNTAIN 141

THE STORY OF THE OLD MAN WHO MADE WITHERED TREES TO BLOSSOM 145

THE BATTLE OF THE APE AND THE CRAB 149

THE ADVENTURES OF LITTLE PEACHLING 152

THE FOXES' WEDDING 155

THE HISTORY OF SAKATA KINTOKI 158

THE ELVES AND THE ENVIOUS NEIGHBOUR 160

THE GHOST OF SAKURA 161

HOW TAJIMA SHUMÉ WAS TORMENTED BY A DEVIL OF HIS OWN CREATION 192

CONCERNING CERTAIN SUPERSTITIONS 197

THE VAMPIRE CAT OF NABÉSHIMA 200

THE STORY OF THE FAITHFUL CAT 207

HOW A MAN WAS BEWITCHED AND HAD HIS HEAD SHAVED BY THE FOXES 209

THE GRATEFUL FOXES 213

THE BADGER'S MONEY 220

THE PRINCE AND THE BADGER 224

JAPANESE SERMONS 227

THE SERMONS OF KIU-Ô, VOL. I. SERMON I. 235

THE SERMONS OF KIU-Ô, VOL. I. SERMON II. 244

THE SERMONS OF KIU-Ô, VOL. I. SERMON III. 253

APPENDICES:—

AN ACCOUNT OF THE HARA-KIRI 263

THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY 288

ON THE BIRTH AND REARING OF CHILDREN 296

FUNERAL RITES 301



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

THE RÔNINS INVITE RÔTSUKÉ NO SUKÉ TO PERFORM HARA-KIRI

THE WELL IN WHICH THE HEAD WAS WASHED

THE SATSUMA MAN INSULTS OISHI KURANOSUKÉ

THE TOMBS OF THE RÔNINS

THE TOMB OF THE SHIYOKU

GOMPACHI AWAKENED BY THE MAIDEN IN THE ROBBERS' DEN

FORGING THE SWORD

MATAGORÔ KILLS YUKIYÉ

THE DEATH OF DANYÉMON

TRICKS OF SWORDSMANSHIP AT ASAKUSA

THE DEATH OF CHÔBEI OF BANDZUIN

FUNAKOSHI JIUYÉMON ON BOARD THE PIRATE SHIP

JIUYÉMON PUNISHES HIS WIFE AND THE WRESTLER

FUNAKOSHI JIUYÉMON AND THE GOBLINS

"GOKUMON"

CHAMPION WRESTLER

A WRESTLING MATCH

GENZABURÔ'S MEETING WITH THE ETA MAIDEN

THE TONGUE-CUT SPARROW

THE TONGUE-CUT SPARROW (2)

THE ACCOMPLISHED AND LUCKY TEA-KETTLE

THE ACCOMPLISHED AND LUCKY TEA-KETTLE (2)

THE HARE AND THE BADGER

THE HARE AND THE BADGER (2)

THE OLD MAN WHO CAUSED WITHERED TREES TO FLOWER

THE OLD MAN WHO CAUSED WITHERED TREES TO FLOWER (2)

THE APE AND THE CRAB

THE APE AND THE CRAB (2)

LITTLE PEACHLING

LITTLE PEACHLING (2)

THE FOXES' WEDDING

THE FOXES' WEDDING (2)

THE DEPUTATION OF PEASANTS AT THEIR LORD'S GATE

THE GHOST OF SAKURA

SÔGORÔ THRUSTING THE PETITION INTO THE SHOGUN'S LITTER

THE CAT OF NABÉSHIMA

THE FEAST OF INARI SAMA

A JAPANESE SERMON



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