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thither on men's shoulders. Much less will they suffer, that he should expose his sacred person to the open air; and the sun is not thought worthy to shine on his head. There is such a holiness ascribed to all parts of the body, that he dares to cut off neither his hair, nor his beard, nor his nails. However, lest he should grow too dirty, they may clean him in the night when he is asleep; because, they say, that what is taken from his body at that time hath been stolen from him, and that such a theft doth not prejudice his holiness or dignity. In ancient times, he was obliged to sit on the throne for some hours every morning, with the imperial crown on his head, but to sit altogether like a statue, without stirring either hands or feet, head or eyes, nor indeed any part of his body, because, by this means, it was thought that he could preserve peace and tranquillity in his empire; for if, unfortunately, he turned himself on one side or the other, or if he looked a good while towards any part of his dominions, it was apprehended that war, famine, fire, or some other great misfortune, was near at hand to desolate the country. But it having been afterwards discovered, that the imperial crown was the palladium which, by its immobility, could preserve peace in the empire, it was thought expedient to deliver his imperial person, consecrated only to idleness and pleasure, from this burthensome duty, and therefore the crown, alone, is at present placed on the throne for several hours every morning. His victuals must be dressed every time in new pots, and served at table in new dishes: both are very clean and neat, but made only of common clay, that, without any considerable expense, they may be laid aside, or broken, after they have served once. They are generally broken, for fear they should come into the hands of laymen; for they believe religiously, that if any layman should presume to eat his food out of these sacred dishes, it would swell and inflame his mouth and throat. The like ill effect is dreaded from the Daïri's sacred habits; for they believe that if a layman should wear them, without the emperor's express leave or command, they would occasion pains in all parts of his body.” '-Ibid. pp. 171—173.
But what is really an exceptional case is, that this theocracy descends occasionally to females, and that the spiritual emperor may be, in short, an empress. The throne, when vacant, is filled by a nominee of the Council; that is, the Pope is elected by the Cardinals. Elected we say, for though the succession is
, nominally in a right line, yet the Council determines who is the nearest heir, which, in a country where polygamy is permitted, opens a large door to external interest.
The rise of the secular emperor seems to have been this :Japan was a strictly feudal state; the separate dukes and counts, as we should call them, only paid a nominal obedience to the spiritual emperor. Then arose, as in Europe, the great struggle between the Suzerain and the independent holders of fiefs. We all know how it terminated in Europe, by the king calling into existence a burgher, or middle class, and throwing himself on the municipalities. The kings of France and England dissolved the powerful confederacies of the nobles-in Japan matters took the opposite course. In feudal countries there will always be some prominent baron, some Warwick or the like, who holds the real sway.
He commands the army in the West-in the East he is Vizier. It requires but a single step to make the office of Mayor of the Palace hereditary; this process was effected in Japan, and the Ziogun, the officer who held this dignity, though he did not at first assume the imperial name, soon acquired all the real power of the empire. The first Ziogun assumed office about the middle of the twelfth century, so that some strange political affinity and change in social relations was working on the Seine and in Niphon at the same time. He was not then, nor is he now, theoretically joint emperor with the Daïri; he is only the secular king. He held all the real power, but a certain theoretical supremacy is reserved to the Daïri, or Mikado, the ecclesiastical emperor. It was not till
, 1585 that the title Ziogun, General-in-Chief, was expanded into that of Kobo, which is the present appellation of the (so-called) secular emperor. It is only in this sense that Japan has two emperors; that Church and State both bear imperial sway, and that a conjoint, yet separate dynasty, celestial and terrestrial, rules without collision or interference. Curiously enough, the fate which overtook the Daïri has pursued the Kobo; the lay and spiritual emperors are both reduced to shadows, the sovereignty either of Church or State is merely ideal and fictitious; the Daïri sleeps away his torpid existence at Miaco, the self-torturing shadow of departed greatness, while the Kobo is immersed in dignified, but unauthoritative, seclusion in his palace at Jeddo. The charmed slumbers of the famous king in the 'Sleeping Beauty,' are the only parallel for the imperial state of Japan.
We must, however, remark, that the political history of Japan, since the expulsion of the Portuguese, is very scanty. This principle of dualism, which the lay and clerical empires present, is said, with what truth we know not, to pervade other Japanese institutions.
It remains to give some account of the religion of Japan, which, from the extremely perplexed and conflicting statements on the subject, is far from easy.
The recognised religion, as we said, is Sintooism, though it would be hard to say what Sintooism is. The Japanese, however, seem to have solved the problem which causes so much trouble to European states. There is an established religion, and there is the most perfect toleration purchased, as such a system only can be purchased, by an entire surrender of principle on every side. The Kobo sends an embassy, or goes on a pilgrimage to his ecclesiastical elder brother, the Sintoo Emperor, and at the same time builds a Buddhist temple; while the Daïri, the prince and priest of Sintooism, allows the easy importation of strange gods into the sacred temples of his own faith. In fact, it is the height of politeness for different religious professors to attend the worship of the gods of their friends. The only thing, as of old, which is proscribed, is Christianity; neither the Japanese nor the Roman empire would refuse the Cross its intercommunion in rites. It is the exclusiveness of the Gospel which is its scandal.
Sintooism was perhaps originally a form of Sabæanism ; its chief divinity is the Goddess of the Sun. She is worshipped through the mediation of inferior gods and deified mortals. Some doctrine of a future state, and of rewards and punishments, is retained; but the actual duties of religion consist in, 1, Preservation of pure fire; 2, Purity of the heart and body; 3, The observance of festival days; 4, Pilgrimage; and, 5, The public and private cultus of the inferior gods and saintsthe Kami. These last seem to be the ordinary Teraphim of the eastern, and Penates of classical worship. The temple and domestic worship is thus described :
• The religious observances on festival days appear to be very simple and very short. The worshipper, clad in his best clothes, approaches the temple, performs his ablutions at a tank, kneels in the veranda opposite a grated window, through which he can fix his eyes on the mirror; he then offers up his prayers, and a sacrifice of rice, fruit, tea, sackee, or the like ; deposits a little money in a box, and takes his departure, to spend the rest of the day in sports and pastimes, or in the manner he thinks best. According to Kämpfer, they conclude their ceremonies at the temple by striking three times upon a bell, which is hung over the door, believing the gods to be highly delighted with the sounds of musical instruments. “All this being done, they retire, to divert themselves the remaining part of the day with walking, exercises, sports, eating and drinking, and treating one another to good things.” The temple must not be approached with a downcast spirit or a sorrowful countenance, for that might disturb the placid beatitude of the Kami.'-Ibid. pp. 209, 210.
The domestic rites of the ancient and dominant Japanese religion are not well known. If Siebold, from whom the account is taken, is to be trusted, the last sentence, apart from its awkward phraseology, in the following extract is very curious :
• At home in every Sintoo house, each meal is preceded by a short prayer, and in nearly every garden or courtyard attached to such house, there is a miniature mya, or temple. The Sintoo priests are called Kami-Nusi, or the hosts or landlords of the gods; they dwell in houses built within the grounds attached to the temples. The money deposited by the worshippers goes into their purse, and the oblations of rice, fruit, tea, and the rest, go to their kitchen and table. They have thus the means of hospitality, and are said to exercise it liberally to strangers. The Dutch, however, always found, that in their case, a return in solid cash was expected, and that these temple-visits were very expensive. Celibacy is no tenet of the Sintoos; the Kami-Nusi marry, and their wives are priestesses, to whom specific rites and duties are allotted. It appears that they act as godmothers general to all the female children of their sect that are born in Japan, giving them their names, sprinkling them with water, and performing other ceremonies.'-Ibid. pp. 210, 211,
We need hardly remark, that the parallel which Mr. Mac Farlane seems to suggest between what he calls the Japanese Pilgrimages and the Romanist devotion to shrines, is singularly inaccurate. The sacred regulation of the law for all the males to appear at Jerusalem, is a closer parallel. However, as the writer whom we have hitherto followed has compiled with general accuracy, we may take his facts apart from his
, inferences :
• Tilgrimage is the grand and most sanctifying act of Sintoo devotion. There are no fewer than twenty-two shrines in different parts of the empire, which are frequented annually, or more frequently by the devout. "The most conspicuous, and most honoured of all-the very Loretto of the Japanese, -is Isye, with its ancient temple of Ten-sio-dai-zin, or the Sun Goddess. The principal temple is surrounded by nearly a hundred small ones, which have little else of a temple than the mere shape, being, for the most part, so low and narrow, that a man can scarcely stand up in them. Each of these temples, or little chapels, is attended by a priest. Near to them live multitudes of priests and functionaries, who call themselves the messengers of the gods, and who keep houses and lodgings to accommodate travellers and pilgrims. The principal temple itself is a very plain, unpretending edifice, and evidently of great antiquity, though not quite so old as the priests and devotees pretend. According to the latter, the Sun Goddess was born in it and dwelt in it, and on that account it has never been enlarged, improved, or in any way altered. Among the priestesses of the temple, there is almost always a daughter of a spiritual emperor.
i« Orthodox Sintonists," says Kämpfer, “go in pilgrimage to Isye once a-year, or at the very least once in their lifetime ; nay, it is thought a duty incumbent on every true patriot, whatever sect or religion he otherwise adheres to, and a public mark of respect and gratitude which every one ought to pay to the Sun Goddess, as to the protectress, founder, and first parent of the Japanese nation. This pilgrimage is made at all times of the year; but the greatest concourse of people is in their three first months, March, April, and May, when the season of the year and the good weather make the journey very agreeable and pleasant. Persons of all ranks and qualities, rich and poor, old and young, men and women, resort thither; the lords only of the highest quality, and the most potent princes of the empire excepted, who seldom appear there in person.
•“ An embassy from the emperor is sent there once every year, in the first month, at which time also another with rich presents goes to Miaco with presents to the ecclesiastical hereditary monarch. Most
of the princes of the empire follow the emperor's example.” '—Ibid. pp. 211-213.
We cannot say, however, that when we read that the certificate of having appeared at the sacred shrine is considered as a plenary remission, and that in the available form of a piece of printed paper it is sold, with all its virtues, to all who can afford to pay for it, and who do not choose to go to the expense in time and trouble of a personal visit to Isye, we are forcibly reminded of the abuses connected with the system of indulgences.
What the ordinary writers on Japan think proper to call religious orders and monasteries, are only the Buddhist Lamacovics, which the readers of our recent paper on M. Huc's Travels are not likely to have forgotten. A society of female devotees, whom Kämpfer thinks proper to compare with the nuns, or at least, Beguines of Europe, of no particular faith, and of very doubtful morality,' much more pointedly resembles the devotees of Mylitta in the temples of Babylon.
Japan, however, like China, seems to have passed its culmination. In religion, as well as in arts, these great mysterious countries are on the decline. The popular superstitions seem to have a very slight hold on the vulgar mind; Buddhism has the strongest, but, perhaps, because it is a double system, presenting a vague Pantheizing philosophy for the initiated, and the most sordid idolatry for the lower classes. The accounts seem to combine in representing the apparently inconsistent facts, that all religious persons, priests and the like, are the objects of popular ridicule and contempt, and yet that the temples and shrines are well attended, and supplied with pecuniary support. It is even doubtful whether, in the extreme East, an individual ever prays, or has any personal belief in God; his religion is simply and nakedly vicarious; it is the business of the priest, or Lama, to pray for him, or to grind out prayers in the Thibetan Prayermill. If he pays for this he thinks that he may safely despise the instrument of his devotions; so long as he gets his religion done for him, he has no further concern with it. In some such way as this, the conflicting accounts which we read of Chinese and Japanese religion, must be understood; for it is common in popular works to describe them both as a religious people, and as entire atheists.
It would be quite superfluous in this place to give any detail of the philosophic religion of Japan-the Suto or ' way of the philosophers'-because it is only the abstract and mystical esoteric Buddhism, which, perhaps, scarcely differs from the Indian and kindred Pantheism. The high spirit alistic Oriental philosophers differ rather in terminology, and not much in that, than in ideas. They believe, generally, or affect to believe, in a universal soul and spirit, sustaining but not creative, which is diffused through the universe and animates all things, which absorbs souls and intelligences as the ocean receives the rivers and waters. This is the pliilosophic faith which the educated classes in Japan, as throughout the East, affect to hold. They conform to the popular religious observances by way of examNO. LXXVIII.-- N.S.