Homepage of David C. Moreton 
   Home      Stoddard Lecture

Back (Japan Main Page) 
John L. Stoddard`s Lectures on Japan 1897
Describing Tokyo University (p.64)
"... Accomplished foreign teachers also were induced to come and give instruction in Japanese schools... There are in all one hundred and twenty-three professors in the institution, fifteen of whom are foreigners...
On the Japanese (p.102)
"... No race on earth is so contradictory and so full of puzzling surprises as the Japanese. `The longer I live here,` a resident of Tokio once said to me, `the less I understand these people. A superficial knowledge of them is easily acquired; but there is always at the last a mental gulf between the Orient and the Occident, across which I perceive that their past is not our past, and that their ideas on art, religion, government, the finite and the infinite, are radically different from our own.`"
On pilgrims (p.140)
On Mt Fuji - "To its mighty base, as to some incense-burning altar, more than ten thousand reverent pilgrims annually come to make the arduous ascent, their `rest-houses` have been built at intervals along the path... Upon their heads are hats of split bamboo or straw, that bear a comical resemblance to enormous mushrooms, and servce as sunshades or umbrellas, according to the condition of the weather. We met such pilgrims everywhere throughout Japan. At least a hundred thousand people thus become, in summer-time, religious tramps and make their way to sacred islands, holy mountain-tops, and shrines whose names would fill a lengthy catalogue."
On the Japanese disposition (p.166-169)
"The Japanese are naturally of a happy disposition. A smile illuminates every face. Apparently their past has no regrets, their present no annoyances, their future no alarms. They love the beautiful in nature and in art. They live simply; and how much that means! ... If they are sad, they seldom show their sadness in public. They evidently believe with the poet: `Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.`...A tourist once solemnly remarked to me: `The great trouble with the Japanese  is that they are too happy.` `What!`, I exclaimed, `can anyone be too happy in this world.?` `Certainly,` was the reply;`the Japanese are too light-hearted to learn with advantage the lessons of adversity. If a calamity befalls them, they often smile and say, `Well, it can`t be helped,` and then try to think no more about it. Worst of all,` he continued, `they do not worry about the future, but actually meet death fearlessly and calmly.`
On Hotel service (p.175)
"As we alighted here, the landlord and his servants hurried out to greet us, dropped on their knees, and, with their hands spread out, palms downward, and their heads almost touching the floor, they bowed repeatedly, like the `three little maids from school.` What a contrast was here between Orient and the Occident. Imagine a hotel clerk in America down upon his knees!"
On the Japanese way of doing things (p. 208)
"To watch them is like watching our own motions in a mirror, for everything appears reversed. Our carpenters pull the plane from them; the Japanese pull it towards them. The threads of our screws turn to the right; theirs turn to the left. Our keys turn outward; their turn inward... The Japanese think our ways just as strange as we do theirs. We, for example, carry our babies in our arms; in Japan, however, they are strapped on the backs of children not much larger than themselves, their little heads being left to flop about like flowers half-broken from the stem. ... The best room in our houses are in front; theirs are in the rear. We mount our horses from the left; they from the right.