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Interviewing Japan

by Adrienne Moore

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INTERVIEWING JAPANBY ADRIENNE MOORECONTENTS Preface Too Expensive to Die Venus de Milo is Indecent What Price Beauty ? Ladies Should Wear Underpants Winking at Fate A Child is Born Geisha Advertising You Cant Escape Kill or Cure A Han Maker laments Riches from Rags Kikunosuke Onoye is a Ladylike Gentleman Miladys Dress Tree Magic Divorce Adventure in a Bath house The Art of Giving A Japanese Nun Confesses Old Clothes Are Better Thaa New Hirsute Glory Mrs. Tanahashi is One Hundred and One TameshigM . Here Comes the Bride. PREFACE Since this volume was first issued by the Hokuseido Press of Tokyo in October of 1939 and a second edition appeared in 1940, Japan has once more become a nation practically shut off from the rest of the world. For the second time in her history Japan has entered purdah. Now only her military bedfellowsGermany and Italyhave any measure of freedom on her un friendly shores. And more than ever3 the mind of the Japanese people has become an object of interest and speculation. The first seclusion of Japan was brought about by the Tokugawa Shogun military dicta tor In 1638 because he feared that outside influ ences were destined to disrupt national unity. The intrigues of the European missionaries and traders made him highly suspicious This period of national purdah is known as The Great Peace and lasted until die American, Admiral Perry, knocked at the doors of Japan in 1853. This 250 years of selfinflicted solitude wherein no sea faring ships were allowed to be built, shipwrecked mariners were imprisoned or killed, and European traders., especially the Dutch? were kept jailed upon the island of Deshima off Nagasaki and had to do business through Japanese agents5 stamped upon the Japanese character its present irremedi able characteristics. It ended, quite naturally, in dissolution and decay as the ruling class military had no wars to fight for over 200 years and spent their hours in luxury and pleasure. By the time of Perrys arrival the merchant class, which was equivalent to the Indian sudra class., held a mort gage on the rulers. The peasantry was starving drained by their feudal lords who were always in desperate, need of money. Infanticide was usual, not an exception. Japan was rotten to the core and a revolution was inevitable. The Bloodless Revolution of 1868 led .Japan from medievalism to modernity, Japan burst greedily upon the. modern world and for the moment found an outlet for her cramped and pentin ener gies in adapting Western ideas. After the turn of the century she ventured into the field of indus trial expansion. The miraculous effect upon Japan of her new life may be seen by the fact that for one hundred years before the country . was re opened to the world her population stood still between 1868 and 1930, her population doubled. It is only natural that a nation which suddenly awakes and finds itself steeped in the middle ages while the nations around her have relegated theirs to history books, should acquire an inferiority complex.



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