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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/282

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278
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

PSM V73 D282 Manner of large japanese writing.png

Fig. 1. Manner of Large Writing.

Writing is also a part of the divine service of Buddha. The empresses and emperors in the olden days made copies of the Sacred Books; the characters were golden on a white field, the style of the letters was dignified and beautiful. There is even a special god of writing, Ten Jin. He was a great statesman, poet and scholar of the olden time, and also a fine writer; he was afterwards deified. Now the children offer up to Ten Jin their early attempts at writing and pray to him for help in the difficult task which has been set before them. The sacredness of the art of writing attaches even to pieces of paper with written characters on them; the Japanese do not allow them to be trampled into oblivion, but carefully pick them up and religiously burn them.

What is our American view of writing? We consider illegible and careless writing a thing to boast of. You have all read Mark Twain's story of the letter from Horace Greeley, and I need not repeat it to