The instrument called Sho is blown with the mouth, and corresponds to the Chinese Cheng or Mouth Organ. The pipes are made of wood, with reed mouthpieces, and the notes are made by stopping the holes with the fingers. In some ways the construction is like that of a harmonium, but it is much more troublesome to play, and the performer, having to use his own breath to make the sounds, cannot sing at the same time. Unlike a harmonium also, it is difficult to keep in tune, and Miss Bird, a well-known traveller, tells of a concert at which the performer was obliged to be continually warming his instrument at a brazier of coals placed near. Some years ago a Japanese Commission was appointed to consider which of the national instruments were most suitable for use in schools; it rejected the Sho because its manufacture was troublesome and its tuning even worse.
Japanese Girl with Baby
The fifth day of the fifth month is the Boys’ Festival. Then they are selling bows and arrows and other toy weapons everywhere. Everywhere they hang out great paper fishes, shaped like carp, and brightly painted. These are hung to tall bamboo poles of which there is one set in front of every house where they have a boy in the family. One fish is hung for each boy, and it is a gay sight to see the hundreds of bright fish waving and tossing in the wind. The reason 92why the carp is represented is because it swims up the river against the current; so it is hoped “the sturdy boy, overcoming all obstacles, will make his way in the world and rise to fame and fortune.”
Ainu clothing is generally made of elm bark, and that worn by men and women is much alike. The bark is stripped from the tree in spring, when it is full of sap. It is soaked in water to separate the inner and outer bark. Fibres are secured from the inner bark, which can be woven like thread into cloth. The men’s garments of this fibre cloth are adorned with patterns embroidered with colored threads; those of women are generally plain.
The women tattoo, beginning in girlhood. The patterns are cut in the flesh with a razor and soot is rubbed into the lines; to render the 96color permanent, water in which ash-tree bark has been steeped is rubbed over the part tattooed. The tattooing first done is at the centre of the upper lip; later the lower lip. The marks are added to from time to time until they cover the upper lip and reach from ear to ear. Such women appear to have a great moustache. After marriage a woman’s forehead may be tattooed, also patterns may be made up the backs of the hands and on the arms, and rings may be tattooed around her fingers.
The Two storks
Korean Lion represents a game that children in Japan are very fond of playing. They are probably trying to act as well as the maskers did whom they saw on New Year's Day, just as our children try and imitate things they see in a pantomime. The masker goes from house to house accompanied by one or two men who play on cymbals, flute, and drum.
Street Tumblers playing Kangura in Tokio
The man who sells the gold-fish, with fan-like tails as long as their bodies, has also turtles. These boys at last settle that of all the pretty things they have seen they would best like to spend their money on a young turtle. For their pet rabbits and mice died, but turtles, they say, are painted on fans and screens and boxes because turtles live for ten thousand years.
The boys in the picture must be playing with the puppies of a large dog, to judge from their big paws. There are a great many large dogs in the streets of Tokio; some are very tame, and will let children comb their hair and ornament them and pull them about. These dogs do not wear collars, as do our pet dogs, but a wooden label bearing the owner's name is hung round their necks.
The masker goes from house to house accompanied by one or two men who play on cymbals, flute, and drum. He steps into a shop where the people of the house and their friends sit drinking tea, and passers-by pause in front of the open shop to see the fun. He takes a mask, like the one in the picture, off his back and puts it over his head. This boar's-head mask is painted scarlet and black, and gilt. It has a green cloth hanging down behind, in order that you may not perceive where the mask ends and the mans body begins. Then the masker imitates an animal. He goes up to a young lady and lays down his ugly head beside her to be patted, as "Beast" may have coaxed "Beauty" in the fairy tale. He grunts, and rolls, and scratches himself. The children almost forget he is a man, and roar with laughter at the funny animal.
The tops the lads are playing with in this picture are not quite the same shape as our tops, but they spin very well. Some men are so clever at making spinning-tops run along strings, throwing them up into the air and catching them with a tobacco-pipe, that they earn a living by exhibiting their skill.
Some of the tops are formed of short pieces of bamboo with a wooden peg put through them, and the hole cut in the side makes them have a fine hum as the air rushes in whilst they spin.
Yoshi-san and his Grandmother go to visit the great temple at Shiba. They walk up its steep stairs, and arrive at the lacquered threshold. Here they place aside their wooden clogs, throw a few coins into a huge box standing on the floor. It is covered with a wooden grating so constructed as to prevent pilfering hands afterward removing the coin. Then they pull a thick rope attached to a big brass bell like an exaggerated sheep-bell, hanging from the ceiling, but which gives forth but a feeble, tinkling sound. To insure the god's attention, this is supplemented with three distinct claps of the hands, which are afterward clasped in prayer for a short interval; two more claps mark the conclusion. Then, resuming their clogs, they clatter down the steep, copper-bound temple steps into the grounds. Here are stalls innumerable of toys, fruit, fish-cakes, birds, tobacco-pipes, ironmongery, and rice, and scattered amidst the stalls are tea-houses, peep-shows, and other places of amusement. Of these the greatest attraction is a newly-opened chrysanthemum show.
In the picture are two boys who are fond of music. One has a flute, which is made of bamboo wood. These flutes are easy to make, as bamboo wood grows hollow, with cross divisions at intervals. If you cut a piece with a division forming one end you need only make the outside holes in order to finish your flute.
The child sitting down has a drum. His drum and the paper lanterns hanging up have painted on them an ornament which is also the crest of the house of "Arima." If these boys belong to this family they wear the same crest embroidered on the centre of the backs of their coats.
The two little boys are playing at snowball. These lads enjoy a fall of snow, and still better than snowballing they like making a snowman with a charcoal ball for each eye and a streak of charcoal for his mouth. The shoes which they usually wear out of doors are better for a snowy day than your boots, for their feet do not sink into the snow, unless it is deep. These shoes are of wood, and make a boy seem to be about three inches taller than he really is. The shoe, you see, has not laces or buttons, but is kept on the foot by that thong which passes between the first and second toe. The thong is made of grass, and covered with strong paper, or with white or colored calico. The boy in the check dress wears his shoes without socks, but you see the other boy has socks on.
After the heavy autumn rains have filled the roads with big puddles, it is great fun, this boy thinks, to walk about on stilts. His stilts are of bamboo wood, and he calls them "Heron-legs," after the long-legged snowy herons that strut about in the wet rice-fields. When he struts about on them, he wedges the upright between his big and second toe as if the stilt was like his shoes. He has a good view of his two friends who are wrestling, and probably making hideous noises like wild animals as they try to throw one another.
Sculptures and medals abound in the East, containing hieroglyphic symbols of the creation. The most remarkable, however, of these symbolic devices is that erected, and at this day to be seen, in one of the temples of Japan. The temple itself, in which this fine monument of Oriental genius is elevated, is called Daibod, and stands in Meaco, a great and flourishing city of Japan.
The principal image in this design displays itself in the form of a vast bull, the emblem of prolific heat and the generative energy by which creation was formed, butting with its horns against the egg, which floated on the waters of the abyss. The status of the bull itself is formed of massy gold, with a great knob on its back, and a golden collar about its neck, embossed with precious stones.
A kind of lute. The body is of wood, lacquered black, and ornamented with a band of Japanese design in gold lacquer. Four strings and two very small soundholes.
Bamboo, with 13 strings of silk neatly twisted. The body ornamented with embroidered work, and painted with inscriptions, flowers and foliage ; in the center is carved an open fan.