Chauvinism. Japan has not escaped, in these latter days, the wave of "jingo" feeling that has swept round the world, making the nations like each other less as they come to know each other better. For a few years, no doubt, "foreign" and "good" were synonymous terms; the Japanese sat at the feet of the Western Gamaliel, and treasured his slightest utterances as pearls of great price. This state of things passed away suddenly in 1887. The feeling now is, "Japan for the Japanese, and let it be a Japanese Japan." Foreign employes have been dismissed, and replaced by natives. In the Diet—it was in the Upper House, too—the metrical system of weights and measures has been opposed on the ground that the introduction of a foreign standard would be a blot on the national escutcheon. Only four or five years ago, the Tōkyō Chamber of Commerce resolved that the Roman nomenclature hitherto used on the silver and copper pieces should be dropped from the new coinage. Not only has the national costume come back again to a considerable extent, and interest in the native sports and the national antiquities been revived:—the peculiar feature of the present situation is that the Japanese are determined to beat us on our own ground and with our own weapons. Japan is to engross the trade of the Pacific, and to be the leader of Asia in modern warfare and diplomacy. According to some, she will remodel philosophy; for Europe is incurably superstitious, Japan essentially reasonable. Mr. Inagaki, a well-known publicist who has lived abroad and even published a book in English, has written essays to demonstrate Japan's special fitness for originating new and important views on international law. Meanwhile, the foreign missionaries are being abandoned as old-fashioned by their quondam converts. The Rev. Mr. Kozaki believes that Japan is the place where "the world-problem of Christianity is … being gradually solved;" and numbers of leading Japanese Christians hold with Mr. Yokoi that Japanese Christianity must develop a superior theology of its own, to which European Christianity will in the future look for support. Politicians take the same line, mutatis mutandis. They point to the weary secular struggles, the bloody rebellions, through which the West has slowly won its way to constitutional government, whereas in Japan what has there been? A grateful and intelligent people accepting the free gift of self-government from a wise and benevolent Sovereign. Further more it has been discovered that courage, patriotism, and loyalty are specifically Japanese virtues, or that—at the least—Japanese courage, Japanese loyalty, and Japanese patriotism glow with an incomparably brighter radiance than the qualities called by those same names in inferior countries,—England, for instance, France, Germany, or America.
Dai Nihon Banzai! "Long live Great Japan!" Japan is a young nation—at least a rejuvenated nation—and youth will be self-confident. The greybeards must not wish it otherwise.
Book recommended. Evolution of the Japanese, by S. L. Gulick, pp. 48-51.
- Says a Monsieur Felix Martin, author of Le Japan Vrai (!): "Ce mot me semble avoir été emprunté par les Yankees au vocabulaire du Nippon; il ne serait autre que le nom de l'impératrice Jingo, femme vaillante et patriote, qui fit, au troisième siècle avant notre ère, la conquête de la Corée." (!!!)—For the bold female in question, see Article on History.