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Tales of Old Japan eBook

Algernon Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 405 pages of information about Tales of Old Japan.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

  The Ronins invite ROTSUKE no Suke to perform hara-kiri
  the well in which the head was washed
  the Satsuma man insults Oishi Kuranosuke
  the tombs of the Ronins
  the tomb of the Shiyoku
  Gompachi awakened by the maiden in the robbers’ den
  forging the sword
  Matagoro kills Yukiye
  the death of Danyemon
  tricks of swordsmanship at Asakusa
  the death of Chobei of Bandzuin
  Funakoshi Jiuyemon on board the pirate ship
  Jiuyemon punishes his wife and the wrestler
  Funakoshi Jiuyemon and the goblins
  “Gokumon”
  Champion wrestler
  A wrestling match
  Genzaburo’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
  Sogoro thrusting the petition into the Shogun’s litter
  the cat of Nabeshima
  the feast of Inari Sama
  A Japanese sermon

THE FORTY-SEVEN RONINS

The books which have been written of late years about Japan have either been compiled from official records, or have contained the sketchy impressions of passing travellers.  Of the inner life of the Japanese the world at large knows but little:  their religion, their superstitions, their ways of thought, the hidden springs by which they move—­all these are as yet mysteries.  Nor is this to be wondered at.  The first Western men who came in contact with Japan—­I am speaking not of the old Dutch and Portuguese traders and priests, but of the diplomatists and merchants of eleven years ago—­met with a cold reception.  Above all things, the native Government threw obstacles in the way of any inquiry into their language, literature, and history.  The fact was that the Tycoon’s Government—­with whom alone, so long as the Mikado remained in seclusion in his sacred capital at Kioto, any relations were maintained—­knew that the Imperial purple with which they sought to invest their chief must quickly fade before the strong sunlight which would be brought upon it so soon as there should be European linguists capable of examining their books and records.  No opportunity was lost of throwing dust in the eyes of the new-comers, whom, even in the most trifling details, it was the official policy to lead astray.  Now, however, there is no cause for concealment; the Roi Faineant has shaken off his sloth, and his Maire du Palais, together, and an intelligible Government, which need not fear scrutiny from abroad, is the result:  the records of the country being but so many proofs of the Mikado’s title to power, there is no reason for keeping up any show of mystery.  The path of inquiry is open to all; and although there is yet much to be learnt, some knowledge has been attained, in which it may interest those who stay at home to share.

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