Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/346

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

matters not, for in either case the children rarely take any part in the religious life of their parents or elders, and indeed usually grow up in blissful ignorance as to what it is all about. True, they may be occasionally taken to the temple, and taught to rub their palms together, clap thrice, and incline their heads toward the shrine, as they toss their offering of rin through the wooden grating of the huge money-till. They may have some vague notion that there is something meritorious in all this, but nothing more, although every Japanese home has a latticed niche, or kamidana, dedicated to the service of the household Lares and

PSM V43 D346 Shrine of tokugawa shoguns at shiba tokyo.jpg
Interior of the Shrine at the Tomb of the Tokugawa Shoguns at Shiba, Tōkyō.
Relics of the hero are preserved in the rear.

Penates, or Daikoku and Ebisu as they appear in Japan. These quaint figures—Daikoku with his bag of rice, and Ebisu with his wise smile and accompanying fish—are regarded more as symbols of good luck than supreme beings, and are retained, in many homes at least, in the same spirit as we Occidentals would fasten a horseshoe over a doorway.

The entire absence of demonstrative affection in Japanese families seems almost incompatible with the deep feeling of parental and filial love and tenderness that exists. Petting and caressing are dispensed with as soon as babyhood is over; and even during this time the mother but rarely presses her lips to the child's