DRILLING

The severe defeats suffered by Choshiu had reduced the number of
samurai of the clan. After thinking deeply upon the matter, Ito
proposed to the Council a measure which met with the most strenuous
opposition, and, being earnestly supported by Inouye, was at last
adopted with many an ominous shake of the head. It was, namely, that
the ranks should be recruited from among the young and strong members
of the people. The older members of the council urged, not unnaturally,
that the samurai would never suffer such an infringement upon the
privileges of their rank. Both Ito and Inouye had more confidence
in the loyalty of the samurai, and they were right. The very best
of foreign rifles had been purchased by Inouye and arrived in due
time. Then the instructors came, and drilling went on from morning to
night. The young men of the people vied with the samurai in zeal and
enthusiasm, they were all equally and regularly paid and well treated.
After some time artillery began to arrive, and a corps of men was
detailed to learn gunnery. Among all the young men there was none more
zealous than Ekichi. After a year’s drill, when officers were appointed
he was made a lieutenant.

In the shadow side of the dual part in the Japanese character, there is
no passion so strong as that of revenge. Subterfuge, the most dastardly
treachery, are praiseworthy and commendable, if they serve to obtain
revenge for the killing of a near relation. The written constitution of
old Japan (Legacy of Iyeyasu), prescribed:

“In respect to revenging injury done to master or father, it is granted
by the wise and virtuous (sage)[91] that you and the injurer can not
live together under the canopy of heaven.

“A person harboring such vengeance shall notify the same in writing to
the Criminal Court; and although no check or hindrance may be offered
to his carrying out his desire within the period allowed for that
purpose, it is forbidden that the chastisement of an enemy be attended
with riot.

“Fellows who neglect to give notice of their intended revenge are like
wolves of pretext, and their punishment or pardon should depend upon
the circumstances of the case.”

Ekichi suspected Sawa. If he had been asked for the reason, he would
have been at a loss, except that he had seen him at Kyoto on the day
of the flight of the kugé. He had never liked the spy, and he had
worshiped his father. The lesson of self-control, thoroughly mastered
by him, enabled him to bend his mind upon his studies. But the moments
which he allowed himself for relaxation, were spent in brooding upon
revenge.

Inouye suspected it, and for that reason had taken him with him to
Yokohama. While there he had found time to go to Kanagawa where he
called upon the physician in his samurai dress. The family scarcely
recognized their former houseboy who, in gratitude for former kindness,
presented his late employer with a choice piece of lacquer. Inouye
had watched Ekichi keenly during this visit, and had noticed the
absolute self control with which he received the advances of the
barbarians. At dinner, he simply imitated Inouye but with such perfect
self-possession, that it seemed as if he had been using knife and fork
all his life, although it was the first time he saw them.

At Yokohama, too, his face expressed no emotion at what he saw; only
when in passing the hatoba, Inouye remarked that his father had
worked here, the boy prostrated himself and saluted. He was utterly
unconscious of the laughter of some rude barbarians. Inouye noticed,
however, that he asked for the names in English, after he had heard him
converse in that language.

When they returned to Nagato, he had asked to be enrolled in the army
and his request was granted. Inouye had offered to teach him English,
an offer which was gladly accepted, and he made such progress that he
was able to read understandingly and to keep up a fair conversation.

The Tokugawa in the meanwhile was boasting of how the Shogun would
annihilate Choshiu, and in 1865 Iyemochi himself took the field. The
foreigners at Yokohama were permitted to witness the march of the
redoubted troops. They came straggling by, as an eye-witness describes
in bands of three or four, a motley array, with very little stomach
for the business in hand. The same witness states that, upon arrival
at Odawara[92] the majority of the higher samurai applied for leave
of absence on account of sickness; whereupon they were told that they
could go, but that their revenues would be taken from them, whereupon
they recovered their health. They remained that year quartered at Kyoto
and Osaka, for the Shogun did not care to lead such an army against a
brave and desperate clan. He tried to induce other clans to join him,
but they refused flatly.

Stung by the ridicule heaped upon them by Japanese and foreigner alike,
the Tokugawa troops at last opened the campaign, in the summer of 1866.
Instead of attempting to overwhelm the clan by sheer force of numbers,
Iyemochi divided his army into three divisions, each of which was
separately routed by Choshiu. This restored the prestige of the clan,
while it ruined that of Tokugawa.

In every battle Ekichi had excelled for coolness and courage, and it
was predicted that he would rise as his father had done before him.
In the latter part of September the news was brought to Nagato that
Iyemochi, the Shogun was dead. Shortly later it also became known that
Tokugawa Keiki had succeeded, but by appointment from Tenshi Sama.

The death of Tenshi Sama Osahito,[93] better known by his posthumous
name of Komei[94] Tenno, and the succession of his son Mutsuhito, then
a boy of fifteen produced a great change. Ito and Inouye held frequent
and long conferences, and the former was often absent from the clan.

Their own experience within Choshiu’s narrow limits, had convinced
them that they were on the right track. The whole strength of
Choshiu’s clan had been called out, and had repeatedly defeated the
overwhelming forces of the Tokugawa; but it had been able to do so only
after acquiring the principles of foreign art of war. Ito disliked
and mistrusted the foreigners, whereas Inouye’s experience as well
as his strong power of discernment rather inclined him toward them.
Both, however, were agreed in their love of their country; and both
agreed that the Japanese must acquire every particle of knowledge
in the possession of the barbarians. More than that: their manners,
habits, and customs, must be studied and such as served in any way
to strengthen the national life, must be introduced and adapted. But
before anything could be done in that direction, the Tokugawa must
be laid low. Nothing could possibly be done so long as a clan so
degenerate was foremost in the country.

Ito went to Satzuma, and met OKubo, Saigo, and Terashima. In OKubo and
Terashima he met men who felt and thought like he. Saigo, a splendid
specimen of manhood, over six feet in height, was equally predisposed
against the Tokugawa, but was not able to look beyond the clan. As
there was no warrant against any of these men except those of the
Choshiu clan, they moved to Kyoto, and the rebuilt capital again became
a hotbed of intrigue.

Tokugawa Keiki declined the appointment of Shogun, but was compelled to
accept. The councillors of the several Tokugawa clans were very well
aware that their sun had set, and urged his appointment as of a man
who was personally popular with the other clans. But Keiki perceived
that the days of the Shogunate were past. It is not improbable that he
himself perceived, as Ii Navsuke had done before, that united Japan
only would be able to maintain its independence and such a Japan could
not exist under two heads. He offered repeatedly to resign, but the
Gosho had no liking for the idea of leaving its repose. The majority
of the members clung to the ideas of Nijo. As to the boy emperor, he
had no more voice than his father had had before him, or than Mori
possessed within Choshiu’s clan. In the regeneration of Japan, no help
could be expected from Miya, Kuge, or Daimiyo, long since converted
into puppets by the very duality of the national character. The men
who undertook the work were unknown nobodies; but it was exactly by
such men that the different clans had been ruled separately, and by
combining together they could rule all the clans, that is Japan,
collectively.

Strictly speaking, therefore, there was no vital change in the affairs
of Japan so long as the government was nominally in the hands of a
figurehead, and in reality in those of the samurai. In all these
troubles, the people had no share, nor did they take any interest in
them, except when their own personal interests were directly affected.
In the eyes of the dominating class the people had no existence; and
when, in the documents of those days the word “people” is used, it
refers solely to the samurai.

Although Aidzu was still in possession of Kyoto, and in charge of the
gates of the Gosho, the half-hearted orders of Keiki permitted the
leaders of Satsuma and other clans to communicate with their friends
within the Council, and once again the men who were for repose at
any cost felt the ground moving from under their feet. They brought
pressure to bear upon the Shogun, and he once again offered his
resignation. It was accepted on the 9th of November, 1867, but upon
condition that for the present he should continue the administration.

Great events were expected when the year 1868 dawned. Couriers arrived
daily at Nagato from Kyoto, and our two friends, as well as the
banished kuge were in a fever of expectation. Ekichi had asked and
obtained furlough, and had left for Kyoto. He was greatly attached
to Inouye, and frequently forestalled his wishes, but in a quiet,
unobtrusive way. He was, moreover, so sedate in his habits, that there
was no cause for watching him. However much Ito and Inouye would have
done for him for the sake of his late father, they felt that his future
could be safely left to himself.

The two friends had taken dinner together on the 7th of January, when
the galloping of a horse was heard, and the animal stopped evidently
in front of the yashiki. After a slight delay, a servant appeared and
announced Mr. Kano. A moment later Ekichi entered, somewhat flushed.
They saluted, and Inouye who observed him closely, said:

“You came on horseback and evidently had a long journey. Have you had
dinner?”

“No, sir, I did not wish to loiter on the road.”

A servant was ordered to serve dinner to the guest. After he had
finished, Inouye resumed:

“You bring important news, do you not?”

“Satsuma, Tosa, and some other clans took possession of the Gosho, four
days ago, and Arisugawa no Miya is guardian on His Majesty.”

Inouye clapped his hands. When his attendant appeared, he told him
to go to the castle, and request the kuge to honor him with a call.
Ito, who had been charged with the command of the army, rose and said:
“Shall we march in the morning?”

“Yes,” was the reply, “that will be best.”

The two friends had so often considered what they would do when this
time should arrive, that no further consultation was necessary. Ito
went first to the most active Councillor, and explained to him what had
happened; he then proceeded to the barracks, and gave orders that the
army was to march at six in the morning. When he returned, he found
the kuge, highly pleased at the prospect of their speedy return. They
knew that, with Arisugawa as adviser, Tenshi Sama would restore them
to honor, and Mori would be exculpated. Indeed, at four o’clock in the
morning a messenger arrived bringing the official papers.

The two Councillors breakfasted with the kuge. During the meal, Ito
said:

“We must make hurried marches, gentlemen. Tokugawa will not submit
peaceably. If our friends prevail, it means the ruin of the Tokugawa
men; hence I expect we shall have trouble.”

The army marched out, leaving only a sufficient number of men to guard
the territory of the clan. It was now that the difference between
samurai and an army on the march could be best observed. The men
stepped out evenly in close ranks, and easily, and without apparent
fatigue performed a two days’ journey. The kuge were surprised. Ito and
Inouye explained what had been done, and the reason for it. Whereas
the daimiyo had never traveled to Kyoto in less than seven days, the
Choshiu men arrived at their yashiki within four days from the time
they left Nagato.

The kuge were escorted to the Palace. Here they found that an entirely
new order prevailed. The allied clans guarded the gates, but permitted
free ingress and egress to all samurai except such as bore the Tokugawa
crest. An imperial decree had been issued abolishing the office of
Shogun, and declaring that the government would be conducted by the
imperial court. Negotiations were being conducted with Keiki to arrive
at an equitable settlement.

Brought up as he had been as the son of Mito, Keiki had always trusted
to his councillors, and was quite as ignorant of affairs as Mori. He
has been accused of vacillation, but personally he was not consulted
at all. Answers, of which he knew nothing, were given in his name
and under his seal. It was quite natural that among his councillors
there should be two parties, the one advocating submission, the other
resistance. The answer depended upon the majority among his councillors.

At last it was decided by his advisers that he should leave Kyoto
and withdraw to Osaka. He was escorted by the two clans of Aidzu and
Kuwana, both intensely attached to the house of Iyeyasu, and unspoiled.
Their leaders urged, and almost compelled Keiki to fight. Himself
possessed of patriotic impulses, he refused.

The new government at Kyoto dreaded war; not from fear, but on account
of the probable consequences. Sanjo and Iwakura had been reinstated and
were often in conference with Ito, Inouye, Goto, OKubo, and Saigo. It
was plainly evident that the government could not be carried on without
revenue, and the Court possessed nothing but a pittance allotted to
it from Tokugawa’s superfluity. If war should follow, Tokugawa had
resources, while the court had none. Even at present the Court depended
entirely upon the generosity of the clans which had been instrumental
in effecting the revolution.

But the ex-Shogun or his party had also very good reasons for avoiding
civil war. It was they who would be Choteki this time, and every
Japanese has a horror of that word. Besides, the Tokugawa clans were
divided among themselves. Echizen and Owari had openly declared for
Tenshi Sama, and had, in fact aided in ousting Aidzu. There was thus
every prospect of peace, and the Court, to facilitate negotiations,
despatched the daimiyo of Echizen and Owari, to offer the Tokugawa clan
a fair share in the government.

Keiki wished to accept; indeed, he was most anxious to wash his hands
of all interference with politics, but Aidzu and Kuwana would not
have it. They expected to restore the old order of things, and Keiki
escorted by the two clans, much against his will, set out upon the
return journey to Kyoto.

The army of the allied clans was small, being almost completely
composed of Satsuma and Choshiu men. But these men were excellently
drilled, for Satsuma, too, had had a lesson from the barbarians, and
profited by it. The loyal army, that is the army of the allied clans
had taken a strong position at Fushimi. The Yodo river connects this
town with Osaka, with a good road on each bank. The Tokugawa forces
marched by both banks, and were received by a well-directed artillery
fire. The rice fields prevented them from deploying and, as they
understood nothing but a hand to hand mêlee, they had no chance in
taking a strong strategic position. Three days they attempted to carry
Fushimi and failed. Then they broke and fled, pursued by the victorious
imperialists.

Ekichi had commanded a battery in this battle, and had again
distinguished himself by his calmness and steadiness under fire. When
the battle was over, he went to his commanding officer, and begged
to be detailed for the pursuit. His request was granted, and soon he
was among the foremost of the imperialists. It was noticed that he did
not use his sword, except in self-defense. Half-way toward Osaka the
pursuers were commanded to halt.

The imperial forces were not strong enough to cope with those of
the Tokugawa, and orders were sent to the loyal clans to send
reinforcements. From all parts of the South and West samurai hurried to
support the Tenshi Sama’s cause and it was not long before the loyal
army set out in pursuit.

Keiki had escaped from Aidzu by departing for Yedo on one of his
steamships; upon his arrival there he sent in his submission, but the
mountain clans would not obey his orders. It is odd that he should not
have taken his seal with him; if these same orders had been issued over
his seal, there is no doubt that Aidzu and Kuwana would have submitted.
But personal government had for centuries been unknown in Japan. If
Mori, personally, should have given an order to Choshiu, nobody would
have paid any attention to it; and if an order to exactly the opposite
effect had appeared over his seal, it would have been obeyed at once.

We shall now return to our friends.

While the Choshiu forces, escorting the recalled kuge were marching
toward Kyoto, Ito remained behind, quietly biding his time. After the
battle of Fushimi was fought and Keiki had embarked for Yedo, the
Tokugawa officials deserted their posts and fled. Ito at once went
to the administration building, and declared himself governor for
his Majesty Tenshi Sama. He took over the government, and prevented
lawlessness.

Kobe, a part of the beach in the immediate vicinity of Hyogo had been
opened to foreigners, and Ito declared it his purpose to protect
them. The same policy had been adopted by those who advised the young
Emperor. Japan was never in a worse position to defy a foreign power
and her leaders were aware of the fact. One and all they hated the
barbarians, but they loved their country more. They had roughly
outlined a policy which was to make of Japan a united and great
country, and that object they lost never out of sight.

At Yedo the Aidzu clan made a stand at the beautiful temple at Uyeno
(Pron. Oo-way-no). Here Ekichi was in the van. Both parties fought with
desperate courage, but Tokugawa lost. Among the dead was Kano Ekichi,
the son of the dead leader.

Thirty-seven years have passed since this story opened. It is in the
month of May, 1895, and two men are sitting at a hibachi in an upper
room in Shinagawa, formerly a suburb of Yedo, now a part of the city
of Tokyo. The men were hale and hearty, but their gray hair, bordering
on white, showed that they were beyond middle age. Their hair was cut
after our fashion, but one wore a straggling beard, while the other’s
snow-white moustache showed off to advantage his small mouth.

The room where they were sitting was at the back of the second story
of a house, which, apparently at least was of our cottage style of
architecture. If one had pressed the electric bell, and entered it,
he would not have seen anything except what might be expected in the
home of a well-to-do American or European. He might have noticed the
taste displayed by the owner, and the quiet, unobtrusive elegance, but
it would not have caused him to suspect that he was in the house of a
Japanese.

The whole of the lower floor, except the kitchen and servants’ rooms,
was such as one might have expected in an opulent American or English
city. The upper story, however, retained the native simplicity, save
that walls, instead of the light, airy sho ji, helped to support the
roof. The prospect from every side was lovely, for the house stood
on one of the bluffs, bordering the former Tokaido. That highway was
there still, but its glory has departed. Every hour, and sometimes more
frequently, trains run between Yokohama and Tokyo, and thousands of
passengers mingle daily in the large waiting-rooms and in the depot at
Shinbashi. There the former daimiyo comes in actual contact with the
ninzoku, and the kuge of old stands by the side of the merchant.

The front of the house gives a view of the bay, lovely at high tide but
disagreeable when the ebb exposes mud-banks extending three miles from
the shore. It will not be long before the government will perceive the
value of this land, and the eyesore will disappear. If Rome could have
been built in a day, these Japanese would have done it.

If Ito looks from the windows on the right, toward Shinagawa, his eye
must fall upon the handsome residence of Mori, where the son of his
former lord now leads a life of quiet elegance. He is well satisfied
with it. When Ito, now higher in rank than his former lord, calls to
pay his respects as he often does, the same relation seems to exist as
in former days. Again Ito is the simple samurai, his lord the daimiyo,
and in both there is a secret longing for the days that are past. But
when they look about them that longing ceases, and they are glad and
proud of what they see.

From the windows in the left, Ito looks upon Tokyo, now grown into one
of the world cities. Has it changed in these thirty-seven years? To
be sure it has, but not oppressively. As we walk through the streets
where dwell the people, we notice that they are wider and cleaner; but
the houses are still as they were before, although there is evidence
of greater prosperity. In Ginza, the street of the large shops, we see
a mixture of the occident and orient, not altogether pleasant; houses
built in foreign style, divided into Japanese rooms or Japanese houses
with imitation foreign stores. Still it is all Japanese, that is, we
can not, even for a moment, lose sight of the fact that we are in Japan.

[Illustration: “BUT THE HOUSES ARE STILL AS THEY WERE BEFORE.”]

But it is within the former castle grounds that a great change is
noticeable; especially at Sakura, near the spot where Ii Naosuke
paid with his head the hatred of Mito. Where his yashiki stood is
an elegantly built edifice of brick, a girls’ school, formerly the
polytechnic, and facing the moat are a number of villas. In the first
of these dwelt Sanjo during his life; next to it is the house once
occupied by Shimadzu, the head of the Satsuma clan, and up the hill is
the palace of Arisugawa, now in mourning, for its head died some months
ago.

It is quite evident that two strong forces are working in Japan. The
leaders of the people are sincere in their desire to conform more and
more to occidental ideals, whereas the people are striving strenuously
to return to their former habits and customs in domestic life. Both
parties are impelled by the same motive, love of country. But the
leaders have more experience and a wider horizon. They have been
abroad, and judge occidental life, with all its virtues and vices by
the results which they produced. The people know nothing of foreigners,
except of such with whom they come into contact, and they have no love
for them.

Thus, as an old friend expressed it to me, all our modern improvements
such as tend toward enhancing the nation’s greatness and wealth, have
been assimilated. Japan, to-day, could no more do without railroads,
than we could do without them. It is the same with telegraph and
telephone and other inventions where steam or electricity are the
motive. The army and navy have been organized according to the highest
standards, and will keep pace with the best of the world. Industries
have been and are being organized, and receive careful protection from
the government. But in the home life, the Japanese have turned back.

“The luxury of your homes,” said my friend, “tends toward enervating
the race. We do not need your furniture; it is expensive and inelegant.
We sleep upon our futon as well as you do upon your spring mattress.
In your clothing you are the slaves of a thing you call fashion, and
every year or oftener you are called upon to pay tribute to it. Who
ever heard of anything so foolish? Our clothing keeps us cool in
summer, and hot in winter. It is inexpensive, becoming, and leaves our
limbs to their natural action; what more do we want? As to your food,
I acknowledge that a meat diet is more strengthening than our usual
bill of fare, and most of us indulge in it once a day. But to prepare
dishes merely to tickle the palate, is both foolish and wicked. We want
no waste. That is the reason why I prefer dressing in haori, hakama,
and Kimono, and why I prefer to live in a Japanese house. If I, or any
other Japanese, visit your country, we conform with your customs and
habits, because we do not wish to give offense. When you come here,
you bring your customs and habits with you, and parade them before us,
regardless if you give offense or not. I think in doing so, you act
wrongly or at least in bad taste.”

“You believe in doing at Rome as the Romans do,” I said smiling. “But
surely one can not always do so. Excuse me, but most of your dishes are
absolutely repugnant to me.”

“What does that prove, but that you are a slave to your stomach. Do you
remember when we first met? It is a long time ago, but I shall never
forget it. The impression of that day is still vivid within me. I had
heard that a barbarian had come to live in our next door yashiki, and I
wondered what sort of an animal he was. My father had told me I must be
very civil when I should see you, and, of course, there was nothing for
it but to mind. I had come from school when I heard steps behind me and
then somebody grabbed me and I saw you. It was well that I did not wear
my swords at that time, or we should not be talking here, and Japan
would have paid another indemnity. You don’t know the fury you raised
in me at your unceremonious introduction. Well, you dragged me in your
yashiki, and placed bread, butter and sugar before me. Do you remember
that, when your kadzukai came in, I asked him what those things were,
and what you wanted me to do with them? He told me they were bread,
oil from the cow, (niku no abura), and sugar, and were there for me to
eat. Talk of repugnant! It was nauseous to me to think of such a thing
as eating ‘oil from the cow.’ But when I am in America now, I enjoy my
butter and sometimes help myself twice.”

“That may be,” I replied, “but for the life of me, I could not eat
your raw fish, and many other dishes.”

“Pshaw! It is on account of an imagination which we call prejudice.
You don’t possess the nerve to try them, and if you did from some
reason, for instance false shame, they would probably upset your
stomach. You could not turn my stomach in those days, child though I
was, but sometimes you tried me pretty severely. When I came home that
first evening, I told my father all about you, and if you had heard my
description, I do not think that you would have felt flattered. But he
told me to cultivate your acquaintance, and his word was law.

“It took me sometime to grow accustomed to–to–, well, I shall draw
it mild, to your lack of manners and of good breeding. But then, as
my father explained to me, you were only a barbarian, and without any
education; and you were, or tried to be, kind; I appreciated that. So
you taught me English, and I taught you Japanese, and you tested my
self-control by the funny mistakes you made. Let me see how long is
that ago? Twenty-six years? How long will it be before you can speak
Japanese, do you think?”

“Come, that is rather rough on me,” I laughed. “I find I can get along
very well.”

“Yes? I always did admire my fellow-countrymen. They have now another
claim to my regard. I speak in Japanese with you for the sake of old
times; but, do you know that I sometimes need all my equanimity to
bear with the way in which you murder our language. Sometimes you use
expressions as if I were your superior in rank; that is all right and
proper; but when, a moment late, you hurl a word at my head fit only
for a coolie or a servant, I admire the perfect control I have of my
temper. No!” he continued slowly and looking thoughtfully at me, “I
don’t think you will ever learn Japanese.”

“I am satisfied with what I know,” I replied, “but if my use of your
tongue shocks your ear, I am willing to converse in English, and I
promise you that I shall not criticize either your pronunciation or
grammar.”

He bowed ceremoniously and replied: “No, thank you! When I am in
the United States, or in England, I speak English and try to act as
regardless of the feelings of others as your fellow Anglo-Saxons act.
As soon as I begin to think in English, it seems as if I forget that I
am a Japanese gentleman.”

“You must have mastered our language better than I have yours, then,
for when I speak in Japanese I can never bring myself to use those
elegant circumlocutions which we call by a name which to us has an ugly
sound.”

This time it was my friend’s turn to laugh. “Do you remember when poor
Kato first came to see you? We were at our lessons, and he to do you
honor had spent a few days in learning the phrases: ‘I have heard of
your famous name,’ and ‘I am happy to see your face.’ He came in and
recited those two sentences in very fair English, I thought. I see you
jumping up yet. What a spitfire you were! Poor Kato! He did not know
what to make of it. You roared: ‘Now, what is the use of talking that
way? You never heard of my name, for it is not famous, and you don’t
care about my face any more than I care about yours.’ Kato’s stock of
English was exhausted, and he politely requested me to come to his
assistance. Well, I had manners if you had not, so I told him that
you were overpowered at the honor of his call, and that this was your
manner to invite him to make himself at home.”

“So that was the reason that fellow bored me until eleven o’clock. I
owe you one for that!”

“Yes? We paid you foreigners well in those days, more than we could
really afford, but most of you were worth the money. Not on account of
the duties you performed, not always satisfactorily but generally to
the best of your ability, but on account of the never failing amusement
you afforded us. At a time when you thought yourself a fair Japanese
scholar I have heard you criticized right before you, and you were as
unconscious as a babe.”

“Don’t you think that you show by what you say the real difference
between you and our race. By your own confession, I showed you
kindness, and, my memory deceives me badly, or you reciprocated to some
extent my friendship for you. Yet you could stand by and patiently
listen to an adverse criticism of one who was your friend, and, instead
of resenting it, as I would have done in a similar case, you could be
amused by it.”

“Ah! but you forget. At that time you were still an object of suspicion
to us. Shimonoseki and Kagoshima were recent recollections, and we were
eating humble-pie. It is different now. We know your strength and your
weakness and we know also our own strength, and we can magnanimously
condescend to treat you as our equals. At that time the whole nation
dissembled; we hated you and every foreigner, although we treated you
so as to flatter your conceit. It does not raise a people in its own
eyes when it forces itself to discard, even for a time, its national
pride, and pretend to honor those whom it despises and hates. I tell
you, my old friend, I am proud of my country and of my people. We
passed through a fiery ordeal, and came out purified. But I acknowledge
also that the fire has left scars which only time can heal. We are
growing better, not worse. The fact that we two still find pleasure
in each other’s company proves that we are better able to appreciate
each other’s good qualities, and that is a type of the feeling of Japan
toward foreign nations.”

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