Duck-hunting with the help of decoys and a sort of large hand-net, in grounds laid out for the purpose with ponds and canals and high embankments and concealed alleys, is a sport which was invented in Tōkyō some thirty years ago for the amusement of members of the Imperial Family. Being thus modern in origin, and requiring an extensive park with large and quiet sheets of water for its pursuit, this sport has scarcely been taken up beyond the Imperial circle, except by one or two millionaire families who occasionally invite their friends to a battue. Catching ducks as one would catch butterflies must be good fun, and is said to require not a little skill.
Hawking, which was a favourite pursuit of the Japanese nobility in the Middle Ages, is still sometimes practised on the same occasions. In fact, the new sport of duck-hunting would seem to have developed out of the old one of hawking, while it was partly suggested by the fact that large numbers of ducks and other migratory water-fowl habitually come down from the north to spend the winter on the lagoons around Tōkyō and in the castle moats.