« PreviousContinue »
of the country have been declared Government property. Some of them are worked by the Government, and others by private individuals. At present there are twelve of the former and 5579 of the latter.
In 1881 the whole expense of the mining works, both Governmental and private, was 5,916,621 yen, while the quantity of the ores obtained in the same year was as follows :
322,968 10,376,633 pounds.
13,528 tons. 881,261
Exports have steadily increased during the three years ending 1882, the last date available. In 1880 the total value of exports was over 27 million yen; in 1881 it had risen to over 30 million, and in 1882 it was 374 million. On the contrary, imports have decreased; the value in 1880 being 362 million yen, in 1881 little over 31 million, and in 1882 considerably less than 30 million. Railways and telegraphs are steadily advancing, and the telephone is also making way.
The circulation of the letter post is one of the best tests of a nation's advance on the path of civilization. In 1881 the total number of letters, postcards, newspapers, books, and samples circulated through the post was 74 millions. In the next year it had risen to over 90 millions, and has gone on increasing up to the present date. Japan has 225 newspapers, with an aggregate sale of over 371 millions.
THE GIBRALTAR OF THE EAST.
It is a three hours' ride by rail from Kioto to Kobé. The line is better patronized than that between Yokohama and Tokio. It runs through a rich agricultural country, and halfway touches Osaka, the Birmingham of Japan. The tall chimneys, vomiting smoke that hung like a cloud over the populous towns, had quite a familiar and homelike look. What was in no degree homelike was the conduct of the ticket collector who, at various stages of the short journey, looked in to examine tickets. He entered bare-headed, bowing to the ground, and was most effusive in his thanks on returning the ticket after nipping it. Having seen ours once, he did not trouble us again, but never failed, by a series of bows and smiles, to comprehend us in his periodical examination, whilst at the same time intimating that he knew our tickets were all right. I am not sure that on the whole the British official's sharp cry of “ Tickets !” and his rapid clutch at what you hold in your hand, is not calculated to get through business more quickly. But by way of change it was very pleasant to travel three hours in a railway carriage surrounded, as it were, by a halo of smiles from the ticket collector.
There was a school fête going forward at one of the towns on the route, and the station was beleaguered by hordes of children, many accompanied by their parents. I was much struck by the appearance of the station-master here. Like his colleagues, he was dressed in uniform based on the English style. Unfortunately, he had drawn in the clothing lottery a pair of trousers of prodigious length. He had met the difficulty by the simple process of turning them up at the heels, and was now strutting about with a band of white calico lining reaching half-way to his knee. It seemed impossible to respect authority thus ludicrously arrayed. But he, at least, was unconscious of any drawbacks. He had doubtless, up to early manhood, gone about without any trousers at all, and felt he was now making up the average.
Kobé is a pretty little town at the head of the Inland Sea. It is one of the foreign
settlements, and has known what it was to have the fleets of England, France, and Holland cleared for action in its bay, by way of assisting at the deliberations of the Japanese Government. It is, perhaps, of all towns the least Japanese in its appearance. The streets are broad and straight, the houses of many stories, are built of stone, and the banks and other public buildings favour the impression that it is a Western town. Of course there is a Japanese quarter, but it is not closely in evidence as it is at Yokohama.
We went aboard the Khiva at night, and when we woke in the morning were already threading our way through the Inland Sea. It was fine weather by night and day, and we had full opportunity of enjoying the marvellous beauty of this great sea lake. A panorama of countless islands was spread out, every one of different size and shape, some of the oddest. Most of the islands are inhabited, as in truth are large stretches of the mainland skirting the sea. Here and there are little nests of houses huddled together in a convenient creek, up which junks and sampans can be run in rough weather. If the land seemed deserted the Sea was alive with boats flitting hither and thither under what seemed dangerously heavy sail. At night fires are