Race. There has been much strife among the learned on this question: to which race do the Japanese belong? Not scientific considerations only, but religious and other prejudices have been imported into the discussion. One pious member of the Scotch Kirk derives the Japanese from the Lost Tribes of Israel. An enthusiastic German professor, on the other hand, Dr. Wernich, takes up the cudgels to defend so charming a nation against "the reproach of Mongolism,"—whatever that may be. The two greatest authorities on the subject, Baelz and Rein, say, purely and simply, that the Japanese are Mongols. We incline to follow Baelz in his hypothesis of two chief streams of immigration, both coming from Korea, and both gradually spreading eastward and northward. The first of these immigrations would have supplied the round or so-called "pudding-faced" type, common among the lower classes. The second would have supplied the aristocratic type, with its more oval outline, thinner nose, more slanting eyes, and smaller mouth,—the type to which Japanese actors endeavour to conform when representing noblemen and heroes. Be it remarked that both these types are Mongol. Both have the yellowish skin, the straight hair, the scanty beard, the broadish skull, the more or less oblique eyes, and the high cheek-bones, which characterise all well-established branches of the Mongol race. It is certain that some Mongols have come over and settled in Japan, namely Koreans and Chinamen at various epochs of authentic Japanese history.
A grave difficulty in the way of all pat theories on the subject of the origin of the Japanese is the sharp line of demarcation between the Japanese language and the languages of the neighbouring continent. The Japanese grammatical system, it is true, shows remarkable similarity to Korean; but such connection as Mr. Aston has endeavoured to make out between the two vocabularies is scant and shadowy. Something will be gained if we throw back to an indefinitely early period the immigration of that element of the nation whose language came to be adopted by all classes,—that is, as we presume, the pudding-faced element, the peasantry which forms the substratum of the whole, and which, as Dr. Florenz and Dr. Simmons have made clear, remained in a state of serfdom till comparatively recent times.
On this hypothesis Jimmu Tenno, the "first earthly emperor," and his followers would have been this early people's conquerors, or one set of its conquerors, the latest and most renowned, whose legendary deeds, blended with those of other invading bands in Izumo, and with echoes of the doings of native—or perhaps also foreign—dynasties in Yamato, were worked up, under the influence of Chinese ideas, into that fantastic compound known as "early Japanese history." The solidarity of the Luchuan language with Japanese is an element of the problem that has to be taken into account. Either the little archipelago must have been occupied by the language-giving race before the foreign conquest, or else it must have been occupied by the conquering race after the latter had adopted the language. Two other considerations may be worth adding. One is that Japanese history is solely the history of the ruling caste; the other, that from the very earliest glimmerings of that history, the student can trace a steady backward gaze at Korea as the one country beyond seas with which, from time to time, intercourse had existed.
Many guesses have been hazarded concerning possible Malay immigrations from the South, by sea or via the Luchu Islands. But there is no certain information, there are not even any legendary traces, of such immigrations. The Ainos, who are not Mongols, are indeed joint occupiers of the soil of Japan with the Japanese, and intermarrying has gone on between the two peoples, and goes on still. It has, however, been pretty well proved that this mixed breed becomes unfruitful in the third or fourth generation,—a fact which explains the rare traces of Aino blood even in the population of the extreme north of the island. The two races are as distinct as the whites and the reds in North America.
Books recommended. Die Körperlichen Eigenschaften der Japaner, by Dr. E. Baelz, published in Parts 28 and 32 of the "German Asiatic Transactions."—Altjapanische Culturzustände, by Dr. K. Florenz, in Part 44 of the same.—Land Tenure and Local Institutions in Japan, by Dr. D. B. Simmons, in Vol. XIX. Part I. of the "Asiatic Transactions."—Rev. S. L. Gulick's Evolution of the Japanese.