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3.Taking One's Proper Station

  Any attempt to understand the Japanese must begin with their version of what it means to“take one's proper station。”Their reliance upon order and hierarchy and our faith in freedom and equality are poles apart and it is hard for us to give hierarchy its just due as a possible social mechanism。Japan's confidence in hierarchy is basic in her whole notion of man's relation to his fellow man and of man's relation to the State and it is only by describing some of their national institutions like the family,the State,reli-gious and economic life that it is possible for us to understand their view of life。

  The Japanese have seen the whole problem of international relations in terms of their version of hierarchy just as they have seen their internal problems in the same light。For the last decade they have pictured themselves as attaining the apex of that pyramid,and now that this position belongs instead to the Western Nations,their view of hierarchy just as certainly underlies their acceptance of the present dispensation。Their international documents have constantly stated the weight they attach to it。The preamble to the Tripar-tite Pact with Germany and Italy which Japan signed in 1940 reads:“The Governments of Japan,Germany and Italy consider it as the condition precedent to any lasting peace that all nations of the world be given each its proper station……”and the Imperial Rescript giv-en on the signing of the Pact said the same thing again:

  To enhance our great righteousness in all the earth and to make of the world one household is the great injunction bequeathed by our Imperial Ancestors and we lay this to heart day and night。In the stupendous crisis now confronting the world it ap-pears that war and confusion will be endlessly aggravated and mankind suffer incal-culable disasters。We fervently hope that disturbances will cease and peace be restored as soon as possible……We are therefore deeply gratified that this pact has been conclu-ded between the Three Powers。

  The task of enabling each nation to find its proper place and all individuals to live in peace and security is of the greatest magnitude。It is unparalleled in history。This goal it still far distant……

  On the very day of the attack on Pearl Harbor,too,the Japanese envoys handed to Secretary of State Cordell Hull a most explicit statement on this point:

  It is the immutable policy of the Japanese Government…to enable each nation to find its proper place in the world……The Japanese Government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of the present situation since it runs directly counter to Japan's funda-mental policy to enable each nation to enjoy its proper station in the world。

  This Japanese memorandum was in response to Secretary Hull's a few days previous which had invoked American principles just as basic and honored in the United States as hierarchy is in Japan。Secretary Hull enumerated four:inviolability of sovereignty and of territorial integrity;nonintervention in other nations'internal affairs;reliance on interna-tional co-operation and conciliation;and the principle of equality。These are all major points in the American faith in equal and inviolable rights and are the principles on which we believe daily life should be based no less than international relations。Equality is the highest,most moral American basis for hopes for a better world。It means to us freedom from tyranny,from interference,and from unwanted impositions。It means e-quality before the law and the right to better one's condition in life。It is the basis for the rights of man as they are organized in the world we know。We uphold the virtue of e-quality even when we violate it and we fight hierarchy with a righteous indignation。

  It has been so ever since America was a nation at all。Jefferson wrote it into the De-claration of Independence,and the Bill of Rights incorporated in the Constitution is based on it。These formal phrases of the public documents of a new nation were impor-tant just because they reflected a way of life that was taking shape in the daily living of men and women on this continent,a way of life that was strange to Europeans。One of the great documents of international reporting is the volume a young Frenchman,Alexis de Tocqueville,wrote on this subject of equality after he had visited the United States in the early eighteen-thirties。He was an intelligent and sympathetic observer who was able to see much good in this alien world of America。For it was alien。The young de Toc-queville had been bred in the aristocratic society of France which within the memory of still active and influential men had first been jolted and shocked by the French Revolu-tion and then by the new and drastic laws of Napoleon。He was generous in his appreci-ation of a strange new order of life in America but he saw it through the eyes of a French aristocrat and his book was a report to the Old World on things to come。The United States,he believed,was an advance post of developments which would take place,though with differences,in Europe also。

  He reported therefore at length on this new world。Here people really considered themselves the equals of others。Their social intercourse was on a new and easy footing。They fell into conversation as man to man。Americans did not care about the little atten-tions of a hierarchal etiquette;they did not demand them as their due nor offer them to others。They liked to say they owed nothing to any man。There was no family here in the old aristocratic or Roman sense,and the social hierarchy which had dominated the Old World was gone。These Americans trusted equality as they trusted nothing else;even liberty,he said,they often in practice let fly out of the window while they looked the other way。But they lived equality。

  It is invigorating for Americans to see their forebears through the eyes of this stran-ger,writing about our way of life more than a century ago。There have been many chan-ges in our country but the main outlines have not altered。We recognize,as we read,that America in 1830 was already America as we know it。There have been,and there still are,those in this country who,like Alexander Hamilton in Jefferson's day,are in favor of a more aristocratic ordering of society。But even the Hamiltons recognize that our way of life in this country is not aristocratic。

  When we stated to Japan therefore just before Pearl Harbor the high moral bases on which the United States based her policy in the Pacific we were voicing our most trusted principles。Every step in the direction in which we pointed would according to our convic-tions improve a still imperfect world。The Japanese,too,when they put their trust in“proper station”were turning to the rule of life which had been ingrained in them by their own social experience。Inequality has been for centuries the rule of their organized life at just those points where it is most predictable and most accepted。Behavior that recognizes hierarchy is as natural to them as breathing。It is not,however,a simple Occidental au-thoritarianism。Both those who exercise control and those who are under others'control act in conformity to a tradition which is unlike our own,and now that the Japanese have ac-cepted the high hierarchal place of American authority in their country it is even more necessary for us to get the clearest possible idea of their conventions。Only so can we pic-ture to ourselves the way in which they are likely to act in their present situation。

  Japan for all its recent Westernization is still an aristocratic society。Every greet-ing,every contact must indicate the kind and degree of social distance between men。Every time a man says to another“Eat”or“Sit down”he uses different words if he is addressing someone familiarly or is speaking to an inferior or to a superior。There is a different“you”that must be used in each case and the verbs have different stems。The Japanese have,in other words,what is called a“respect language,”as many other peo-ples do in the Pacific,and they accompany it with proper bows and kneelings。All such behavior is governed by meticulous rules and conventions;it is not merely necessary to know to whom one bows but it is necessary to know how much one bows。A bow that is right and proper to one host would be resented as an insult by another who stood in a slightly different relationship to the bower。And bows range all the way from kneeling with forehead lowered to the hands placed flat upon the floor,to the mere inclination of head and shoulders。One must learn,and learn early,how to suit the obeisance to each particular case。

  It is not merely class differences which must be constantly recognized by appropri-ate behavior,though these are important。Sex and age,family ties and previous dealings between two persons all enter into the necessary calculations。Even between the same two persons different degrees of respect will be called for on different occasions:a civil-ian may be on familiar terms with another and not bow to him at all,but when he wears a military uniform his friend in civilian clothes bows to him。Observance of hierarchy is an art which requires the balancing of innumerable factors,some of which in any parti-cular case may cancel each other out and some of which may be additive。

  There are of course persons between whom there is relatively little ceremony。In the United States these people are one's own family circle。We shed even the slight formalities of our etiquette when we come home to the bosom of our family。In Japan it is precisely in the family where respect rules are learned and meticulously observed。While the mother still carries the baby strapped to her back she will push his head down with her hand,and his first lessons as a toddler are to observe respect behavior to his father or older brother。The wife bows to her husband,the child bows to his father,younger brothers bow to elder brothers,the sister bows to all her brothers of whatever age。It is no empty gesture。It means that the one who bows acknowledges the right of the other to have his way in things he might well prefer to manage himself,and the one who receives the bow acknowledges in his turn certain responsibilities incumbent upon his station。Hierarchy based on sex and generation and primogeniture are part and parcel of family life。

  Filial piety is,of course,a high ethical law which Japan shares with China,and Chinese formulations of it were early adopted in Japan along with Chinese Buddhism,Confucian ethics and secular Chinese culture in the sixth and seventh centuries A。D。The character of filial piety,however,was inevitably modified to suit the different struc-ture of the family in Japan。In China,even today,one owes loyalty to one's vast extend-ed clan。It may number tens of thousands of people over whom it has jurisdiction and from whom it receives support。Conditions differ in different parts of that vast country but in large parts of China all people in any village are members of the same clan。A-mong all of China's 450000000 inhabitants there are only 470 surnames and all people with the same surname count themselves in some degree clan-brothers。Over a whole ar-ea all people may be exclusively of one clan and,in addition,families living in far-a-way cities are their clan fellows。In populous areas like Kwangtung all the clan members unite in keeping up great clan-halls and on stated days they venerate as many as a thou-sand ancestral tablets of dead clan members stemming from a common forebear。Each clan owns property,lands and temples and has clan funds which are used to pay for the education of any promising clan son。It keeps track for the education of any promising clan son。It keeps track of dispersed members and publishes elaborate genealogies which are brought up to date every decade or so to show the names of those who have a right to share in its privileges。It has ancestral laws which might even forbid them to surrender family criminals to the State if the clan was not in agreement with the authorities。In Im-perial times these great communities of semi-autonomous clans were governed in the name of the larger State as casually as possible by easygoing mandarinates headed by ro-tating State appointees who were foreigners in the area。

  All this was different in Japan。Until the middle of the nineteenth century only no-ble families and warrior families were allowed to use surnames。Surnames were funda-mental in the Chinese clan system and without these,or some equivalent,clan organiza-tion cannot develop。One of these equivalents in some tribes is keeping a genealogy。But in Japan only the upper classes kept genealogies and even in these they kept the record,as Daughters of the American Revolution do in the United States,backward in time from the present living person,not downward in time to include every contemporary who stemmed from an original ancestor。It is a very different matter。Besides,Japan was a feudal country。Loyalty was due,not to a great group of relatives,but to a feudal lord。He was resident overlord,and the contrast with the temporary bureaucratic mandarins of China,who were always strangers in their districts,could not have been greater。What was important in Japan was that one was of the fief of Satsuma or the fief of Hizen。A man's ties were to his fief。

  Another way of institutionalizing clans is through the worship of remote ancestors or of clan gods at shrines or holy places。This would have been possible for the Japanese“common people”even without surnames and genealogies。But in Japan there is no cult of veneration of remote ancestors and at the shrines where“common people”worship all villagers join together without having to prove their common ancestry。They are called the“children”of their shrine-god,but they are“children”because they live in his ter-ritory。Such village worshipers are of course related to each other as villagers in any part of the world are after generations of fixed residence but they are not a tight clan group descended from a common ancestor。

  The reverence due to ancestors is paid at a quite different shrine in the family living room where only six or seven recent dead are honored。Among all classes in Japan obei-sance is done daily before this shrine and food set out for parents and grandparents and close relatives remembered in the flesh,who are represented in the shrine by little mini-ature gravestones。Even in the cemetery the markers on the graves of great-grandparents are no longer relettered and the identity even of the third ancestral generation sinks rap-idly into oblivion。Family ties in Japan are whittled down almost to Occidental propor-tions and the French family is perhaps the nearest equivalent。

  “Filial piety”in Japan,therefore,is a matter within a limited face-to-face family。It means taking one's proper station according to generation,sex,and age within a group which includes hardly more than one's father and father's father,their brothers and their descendants。Even in important houses,where larger groups may be included,the fami-ly splits up into separate lines and younger sons establish branch families。Within this narrow face-to-face group the rules that regulate“proper station”are meticulous。There is strict subservience to elders until they elect to go into formal retirement(inkyo)。Even today a father of grown sons,if his own father has not retired,puts through no transac-tion without having it approved by the old grandfather。Parents make and break their children's marriages even when the children are thirty and forty years old。The father as male head of the household is served first at meals,goes first to the family bath,and re-ceives with a nod the deep bows of his family。There is a popular riddle in Japan which might be translated into our conundrum form:“Why is a son who wants to offer advice to his parents like a Buddhist priest who wants to have hair on the top of his head?”(Buddhist priests had a tonsure。)The answer is,“However much he wants to do it,he can't。”

  proper station means not only differences of generation but differences of age。When the Japanese want to express utter confusion,they say that something is“neither elder brother nor younger brother。”It is like our saying that something is neither fish nor fowl,for to the Japanese a man should keep his character as elder brother as drasti-cally as a fish should stay in water。The eldest son is the heir。Travelers speak of“that air of responsibility which the eldest son so early acquires in Japan。”The eldest son shares to a high degree in the prerogatives of the father。In the old days his younger brother would have been inevitably dependent upon him in time;nowadays,especially in towns and villages,it is he who will stay at home in the old rut while his younger brothers will perhaps press forward and get more education and a better income。But old habits of hierarchy are strong。

  Even in political commentary today the traditional prerogatives of elder brothers are vividly stated in discussions of Greater East Asia policy。In the spring of 1942 a Lieuten-ant Colonel,speaking for the War Office,said on the subject of the Co-prosperity Sphere:“Japan is their elder brother and they are Japan's younger brothers。This fact must be brought home to the inhabitants of the occupied territories。Too much considera-tion shown for the inhabitants might engender in their minds the tendency to presume on Japan's kindness with pernicious effects on Japanese rule。”The elder brother,in other words,decides what is good for his younger brother and should not show“too much con-sideration”in enforcing it。

  Whatever one's age,one's position in the hierarchy depends on whether one is male or female。The Japanese woman walks behind her husband and has a lower status。Even women who on occasions when they wear American clothes walk alongside and precede him through a door,again fall to the rear when they have donned their kimonos。The Japanese daughter of the family must get along as best she can while the presents,the attentions,and the money for education go to her brothers。Even when higher schools were established for young women the prescribed courses were heavily loaded with in-struction in etiquette and bodily movement。Serious intellectual training was not on a par with boys',and one principal of such a school,advocating for his upper middle class students some instruction in European languages,based his recommendation on the de-sirability of their being able to put their husband's books back in the bookcase right side up after they had dusted them。

  Nevertheless,the Japanese women have great freedom as compared to most other Asiatic countries and this is not just a phase of Westernization。There never was female foot-binding as in the Chinese upper classes,and Indian women today exclaim over Jap-anese women going in and out of shops,up and down the streets and never secreting themselves。Japanese wives do the family shopping and carry the family purse。If money fails,it is they who must select something from the household and carry it to the pawn-shop。A woman runs her servants,has great say in her children's marriages,and when she is a mother-in-law commonly runs her household realm with as firm a hand as if she had never been,for half her life,a nodding violet。

  The prerogatives of generation,sex,and age in Japan are great。But those who ex-ercise these privileges act as trustees rather than as arbitrary autocrats。The father or the elder brother is responsible for the household,whether its members are living,dead,or yet unborn。He must make weighty decisions and see that they are carried out。He does not,however,have unconditional authority。He is expected to act responsibly for the honor of the house。He recalls to his son and younger brother the legacy of the family,both in material and in spiritual things,and he challenges them to be worthy。Even if he is a peasant he invokes nobles oblige to the family forebears,and if he belongs to more exalted classes the weight of responsibility to the house becomes heavier and heavier。The claims of the family come before the claims of the individual。

  In any affair of importance the head of a family of any standing calls a family coun-cil at which the matter is debated。For a conference on a betrothal,for instance,mem-bers of the family may come from distant parts of Japan。The process of coming to a de-cision involves all the imponderables of personality。A younger brother or a wife may sway the verdict。The master of the house saddles himself with great difficulties if he acts without regard for group opinion。Decisions,of course,may be desperately unwel-come to the individual whose fate is being settled。His elders,however,who have them-selves submitted in their lifetimes to decisions of family councils,are impregnable in de-manding of their juniors what they have bowed to in their day。The sanction behind their demand is very different from that which,both in law and in custom,gives the Prussian father arbitrary rights over his wife and children。What is demanded is not for this rea-son less exacting in Japan,but the effects are different。The Japanese do not learn in their home life to value arbitrary authority,and the habit of submitting to it easily is not fostered。Submission to the will of the family is demanded in the name of a supreme val-ue in which,however onerous its requirements,all of them have a stake。It is deman-ded in the name of a common loyalty。

  Every Japanese learns the habit of hierarchy first in the bosom of his family and what he learns there he applies in wider fields of economic life and of government。He learns that a person gives all deference to those who outrank him in assigned“proper place,”no matter whether or not they are the really dominant persons in the group。E-ven a husband who is dominated by his wife,or an elder brother who is dominated by a younger brother,receives no less formal deference。Formal boundaries between preroga-tives are not broken down just because some other person is operating behind the scenes。The facade is not changed to suit the facts of dominance。It remains inviolable。There is even a certain tactical advantage in operating without the trappings of formal status;one is in that case less vulnerable。The Japanese learn,too,in their family ex-perience that the greatest weight that can be given to a decision comes from the family conviction that it maintains the family honor。The decision is not a decree enforced by an iron fist at the whim of a tyrant who happens to be head of the family。He is more nearly a trustee of a material and spiritual estate which is important to them all and which demands of them all that they subordinate their personal wills to its requirements。The Japanese repudiate the use of the mailed fist,but they do not for that reason subor-dinate themselves any the less to the demands of the family,nor do they for that reason give to those with assigned status any less extreme deference。Hierarchy in the family is maintained even though the family elders have little opportunity to be strong-armed auto-crats。

  Such a bald statement of hierarchy in the Japanese family does not,when Ameri-cans read it with their different standards of interpersonal behavior,do justice to the ac-ceptance of strong and sanctioned emotional ties in Japanese families。There is very con-siderable solidarity in the household and how they achieve it is one of the subjects of this book。Meanwhile it is important in trying to understand their demand for hierarchy in the wider fields of government and economic life to recognize how thoroughly the habit is learned in the bosom of the family。

  The hierarchal arrangements of Japanese life have been as drastic in relations be-tween the classes as they have been in the family。In all her national history Japan has been a strong class and caste society,and a nation which has a centuries-long habit of caste arrangements has certain strengths and certain weaknesses which are of the utmost importance。In Japan caste has been the rule of life through all her recorded history and even back in the seventh century A。D。she was already adapting the ways of life she borrowed from casteless China to suit her own hierarchal culture。In that era of the sev-enth and eighth centuries,the Japanese Emperor and his court set themselves the task of enriching Japan with the customs of the high civilization that had greeted the amazed eyes of their envoys in the great kingdom of China。They went about it with incompara-ble energy。Before that time Japan had not even had a written language;in the seventh century she took the ideographs of China and used them to write her own totally different language。She had had a religion which named forty thousand gods who presided over mountains and villages and gave people good fortune-a folk religion which with all its subsequent changes has survived as modern Shinto。In the seventh century,Japan a-dopted Buddhism wholesale from China as a religion“excellent for protecting the State。”She had had no great permanent architecture,either public or private;the Em-perors built a new capital city,Nara,on the model of a Chinese capital,and great or-nate Buddhist temples and vast Buddhist monasteries were erected in Japan after the Chinese pattern。The Emperors introduced titles and ranks and laws their envoys repor-ted to them from China。It is difficult to find anywhere in the history of the world any other such successfully planned importation of civilization by a sovereign nation。

  Japan,however,from the very first,failed to reproduce China's casteless social or-ganization。The official titles Japan adopted were in China given to administrators who had passed the State examinations,but in Japan they were given to hereditary nobles and feudal lords。They became part of the caste arrangements of Japan。Japan was laid out in a great number of semi-sovereign fiefs whose lords were constantly jealous of each other's powers,and the social arrangements that mattered were those that had to do with the prerogatives of lords and vassals and retainers。No matter how assiduously Japan im-ported civilization from China she could not adopt ways of life which put in the place of her hierarchy anything like China's administrative bureaucracy or her system of extended clans which united people from the most different walks of life into one great clan。Nor did Japan adopt the Chinese idea of a secular Emperor。The Japanese name for the Im-perial House is“Those who dwell above the clouds”and only persons of this family can be Emperor。Japan has never had a change of dynasty,as China so often had。The Emperor was inviolable and his person was sacred。The Japanese Emperors and their courts who introduced Chinese culture in Japan no doubt could not even imagine what the Chinese arrangements were in these matters and did not guess what changes they were making。

  In spite of all Japan's cultural importations from China,therefore,this new civiliza-tion only paved the way for centuries of conflict as to which of these hereditary lords and vassals was in control of the country。Before the eighth century had ended the noble Fu-jiwara family had seized dominance and had thrust the Emperor into the background。When,as time went on,the Fujiwaras'dominance was disputed by feudal lords and the whole country plunged into civil war,one of these,the famous Yoritomo Minamoto,vanquished all rivals and became actual ruler of the country under an old military title,the Shogun,which in full means literally“Barbarian-subduing Generalissimo。”This ti-tle,as was usual in Japan,Yoritomo made hereditary in the Minamoto family for as long as his descendants could hold the other feudal lords in check。The Emperor became an impotent figure。His chief importance was that the Shogun still depended upon him for his ritual investiture。He had no civil power。The actual power was held by a military camp,as it was called,which tried to hold its dominance by armed force over unruly fiefs。Each feudal lord,the daimyo,had his armed retainers,the samurai,whose swords were at his disposal,and they were always ready in periods of disorder to dispute the“proper place”of a rival fief or of the ruling Shogun。

  In the sixteenth century civil war had become endemic。After decades of disorder the great Ieyasu won out over all rivals and in 1603 became the first Shogun of the House of Tokugawa。The Shogunate remained in Ieyasu's line for two centuries and a half and was ended only in 1868 when the“dual rule”of Emperor and Shogun was abolished at the beginning of the modern period。In many ways this long Tokugawa Era is one of the most remarkable in history。It maintained an armed peace in Japan up to the very last generation before it ended and it put into effect a centralized administration that admira-bly served the Tokugawas'purposes。

  Ieyasu was faced with a most difficult problem and he did not choose an easy solu-tion。The lords of some of the strongest fiefs had been against him in the civil war and had bowed to him only after a final disastrous defeat。These were the so-called Outside Lords。These lords he left in control of their fiefs and of their samurai,and indeed of all the feudal lords of Japan they continued to have the greatest autonomy in their domains。

  Nevertheless,he excluded them from the honor of being his vassals and from all impor-tant functions。These important positions were reserved for the Inside Lords,Ieyasu's supporters in the civil war。To maintain this difficult regime the Tokugawas relied upon a strategy of keeping the feudal lords,the daimyos,from accumulating power and of pre-venting any possible combination among them which might threaten the Shogun's con-trol。Not only did the Tokugawas not abolish the feudal scheme;for the purpose of maintaining peace in Japan and dominance of the House of Tokugawa,they attempted to strengthen it and make it more rigid。

  Japanese feudal society was elaborately stratified and each man's status was fixed by inheritance。The Tokugawas solidified this system and regulated the details of each caste's daily behavior。Every family head had to post on his doorway his class position and the required facts about his hereditary status。The clothes he could wear,the foods he could buy,and the kind of house he could legally live in were regulated according to this inherited rank。Below the Imperial Family and the court nobles,there were four Japanese castes ranked in hierarchal order:the warriors(samurai),the farmers,the artisans,and the merchants。Below these,again,were the outcasts。The most numer-ous and famous of these outcasts were the Eta,workers in tabooed trades。They were scavengers,buriers of the executed,skinners of dead animals and tanners of hides。They were Japan's untouchables,or,more exactly,their uncountables,for even the mileage of roads through their villages went uncounted as if the land and the inhabitants of the area did not exist at all。They were desperately poor,and,though guaranteed the exercise of their trades,they were outside the formal structure。

  The merchants ranked just above the outcasts。However strange this seems to A-mericans,it was highly realistic in a feudal society。A merchant class is always disrup-tive of feudalism。As business men become respected and prosperous,feudalism de-cays。When the Tokugawas,by the most drastic laws any nation has ever enforced,de-creed the isolation of Japan in the seventeenth century,they cut the ground from under the feet of the merchants。Japan had had an overseas trade all up and down the coast of China and Korea and a class of traders had been inevitably developing。The Tokugawas stopped all this by making it an offense worthy of capital punishment to build or operate any boat larger than a certain size。The small boats allowed could not cross to the conti-nent or carry loads of trade goods。Domestic trade was severely restricted,too,by cus-toms barriers which were set up on the borders of each fief with strict rules against letting goods in or out。Other laws were directed toward emphasizing the merchants'low social position。Sumptuary laws regulated the clothes they could wear,the umbrellas they could carry,the amount they could spend for a wedding or a funeral。They could not live in a samurai district。They had no legal protection against the swords of the samu-rai,the privileged warriors。The Tokugawa policy of keeping the merchants in inferior stations failed of course in a money economy,and Japan at that period was run on a money economy。But it was attempted。

  The two classes which are appropriate to a stable feudalism,the warriors and the farmers,the Tokugawa regime froze into rigid forms。During the civil wars that were fi-nally ended by Ieyasu,the great war-lord,Hideyoshi,had already completed,by his famous“sword hunt,”the separation of these two classes。He had disarmed the peas-ants and given to the samurai the sole right to wear swords。The warriors could no longer be farmers nor artisans nor merchants。Not even the lowest of them could any longer le-gally be a producer;he was a member of a parasitic class which drew its annual rice sti-pend from taxes levied upon the peasants。The daimyo handled this rice and distributed to each samurai retainer his allotted income。There was no question about where the samurai had to look for support;he was wholly dependent upon his lord。In earlier eras of Japanese history strong ties between the feudal chief and his warriors had been forged in almost ceaseless war between the feudal chief and his warriors had been forged in al-most ceaseless war between economic。For the warrior-retainer,unlike his European counterpart,was not a sub-seigneur owning his own land and serfs nor was he a soldier of fortune。He was a pensioner on a set stipend which had been fixed for his family line at the beginning of the Tokugawa Era。It was not large。Japanese scholars have esti-mated that the average stipend of all samurai was about what farmers were earning and that was certainly bare subsistence。Nothing could be more to the family's disadvantage than division of this stipend among heirs and in consequence the samurai limited their families。Nothing could be more galling to them than prestige dependent on wealth and display,so they laid great stress in their code on the superior virtues of frugality。

  A great gulf separated the samurai from the other three classes:the farmers,the ar-tisans and the merchants。These last three were“common people。”The samurai were not。The swords the samurai wore as their prerogative and sign of caste were not mere decorations。They had the right to use them on the common people。They had tradition-ally done so before Tokugawa times and the laws of Ieyasu merely sanctioned old customs when they decreed:“Common people who behave unbecomingly to the samurai or who do not show respect to their superiors may be cut down on the spot。”It was no part of Ieyasu's design that mutual dependence should be built up between common people and the samurai retainers。His policy was based on strict hierarchal regulations。Both classes headed up to the daimyo and reckoned directly with him;they were on different stair-ways,as it were。Up and down each stairway there was law and regulation and control and reciprocity。Between the people on two stairways there was merely distance。The separateness of the two classes was necessarily bridged by circumstances over and over again but it was not a part of the system。

  During the Tokugawa Era samurai retainers were not mere sword-swingers。They became increasingly the stewards of their overlords'estates and specialists in peaceful arts like the classical drama and the tea ceremony。All protocol lay in their sphere and the daimyo's intrigues were carried out by their skilled manipulations。Two hundred years of peace is a long time and mere individual sword-swinging had its limits。Just as the merchants,in spite of the caste regulations,developed a way of life that gave high place to urbane and artistic and pleasurable pursuits,so the samurai,in spite of their ready swords,developed arts of peace。

  The farmers,in spite of their legal defenselessness against the samurai,the heavy levies of rice made upon them and all the restrictions imposed upon them,had certain securities guaranteed them。They were guaranteed the possession of their farms and to have land gives a man prestige in Japan。Under the Tokugawa regime,land could not be permanently alienated and this law was a guarantee for the individual cultivator,not,as in European feudalism,for the feudal lord。The farmer had a permanent right to some-thing which he valued supremely and he appears to have worked his land with the same diligence and unstinting care with which his descendants cultivate their rice fields today。Nevertheless,he was the Atlas who supported the whole parasitic upper class of about two million persons,including the government of the Shogun,the establishments of the daimyo and the stipends of the samurai retainers。He was taxed in kind,that is,he paid to the daimyo a percentage of his crops。Whereas in Siam,another wet-rice country,the traditional tax is 10 per cent,in Tokugawa Japan it was 40 per cent。But in reality it was higher than this。In some fiefs it was 80 per cent and always there was corvee or work requisitions,which bore down on the strength and time of the farmer。Like the samurai,the farmers also limited their families and the population of the whole of Japan stood at almost the same figure during all the Tokugawa centuries。For an Asiatic coun-try during a long period of peace these static population figures tell a great deal about the regime。It was Spartan in its restrictions,both on the tax-supported retainers and on the producing class,but between each dependent and his superior,it was relatively depend-able。A man knew his obligations,his prerogatives and his station and if these were in-fringed upon the poorest might protest。

  The farmers,even in the direst poverty,carried their protests not only to the feudal lord but to the Shogunate authorities。There were at least a thousand of these revolts dur-ing the two and a half Tokugawa centuries。They were not occasioned by the traditional heavy rule of“40 per cent to the prince and 60 per cent to the cultivators”;they were all protests against additional levies。When conditions were no longer bearable,the farmers might march in great numbers against their overlords but the procedure of peti-tion and judgment was orderly。The farmers drew up formal petitions for redress which they submitted to the daimyo's chamberlain。When this petition was intercepted or the daimyo took no notice of their complaints they sent their representatives to the capital to present their written complaints to the Shogunate。In famous cases they could insure its delivery only by inserting it into some high official's palanquin as he rode through the streets of the capital。But,no matter what risks the farmers took in delivering the peti-tion,it was then investigated by the Shogunate authorities and about half of the judg-ments were in favor of the peasants。

  Japan's requirements of law and order were not satisfied,however,with the Shogunate's judgment on the farmers'claims。Their complaints might be just and it might be advisable for the State to honor them,but the peasant leaders had transgressed the strict law of hierarchy。Regardless of any decision in their favor,they had broken the essential law of their allegiance and this could not be overlooked。They were therefore condemned to death。The righteousness of their cause had nothing to do with the matter。Even the peasants accepted this inevitability。The condemned men were their heroes and the people came in numbers to the execution where the leaders were boiled in oil or be-headed or crucified,but at the execution the crowds did not riot。This was law and or-der。They might afterward build the dead men shrines and honor them as martyrs,but they accepted the execution as part and parcel of the hierarchal laws by which they lived。

  The Tokugawa Shoguns,in short,attempted to solidify the caste structure within each fief and to make each class dependent on the feudal lord。The daimyo stood at the apex of the hierarchy in each fief and he was allowed to exercise his prerogatives over his dependents。The Shogun's great administrative problem was to control the daimyo。In every way he prevented them from forming alliances or from carrying out schemes of ag-gression。Passport and customs officials were maintained at the frontiers of the fiefs to keep strict watch for“outgoing women and incoming guns”lest any daimyo try to send his women away and smuggle arms in。No daimyo could contract a marriage without the Shogun's permission lest it might lead to a dangerous political alliance。Trade between the fiefs was hindered even to the extent of allowing bridges to become impassable。The Shogun's spies too kept him well informed on the daimyo's expenditures and if the feudal coffers were filling up,the Shogun required him to undertake expensive public works to bring him in line again。Most famous regulation of all was that the daimyo live half of each year in the capital and,even when he returned to his fief for his residence there,he had to leave his wife behind him in Yedo(Tokyo)as a hostage in the hands of the Shoguns。In all these ways the administration made certain that it maintain the upper hand and enforce its dominant position in the hierarchy。

  The Shogun was not,of course,the final keystone in this arch for he held sway as the appointee of the Emperor。The Emperor with his court of hereditary nobles(kuge)was isolated in Kyoto and was without actual power。The Emperor's financial resources were less than those of even lesser daimyos and the very ceremonies of the court were strictly circumscribed by Shogunate regulations。Not even the most powerful Tokugawa Shoguns,however,took any steps to do away with this dual rule of Emperor and actual ruler。It was no new thing in Japan。Since the twelfth century a Generalissimo(Sho-gun)had ruled the country in the name of a throne shorn of actual authority。In some centuries division of function had gone so far that the real power which the shadowy Em-peror delegated to a hereditary secular chief was exercised in turn by a hereditary advisor of that chief。There has always been delegation upon delegation of original authority。E-ven in the last and desperate days of the Tokugawa regime,Commodore Perry did not suspect the existence of an Emperor in the background and our first envoy,Townsend Harris,who negotiated the first commercial treaty with Japan in 1858,had to discover for himself that there was an Emperor。

  The truth is that Japan's conception of her Emperor is one that is found over and over among the islands of the Pacific。He is the Sacred Chief who may or may not take part in administration。In some Pacific islands he did and in some he delegated his au-thority。But always his person was sacred。Among New Zealand tribes the Sacred Chief was so sacrosanct that he might not feed himself and even the spoon with which he was fed must not be allowed to touch his sacred teeth。He had to be carried when he went a-broad,for any land upon which he set his sacred foot became automatically so holy that it must pass into the Sacred Chief's possession。His head was particularly sacrosanct and no man could touch it。His words reached the tribal gods。In some Pacific islands,like Samoa and Tonga,the Sacred Chief did not descend into the arena of life。A Secular Chief performed all the duties of State。James Wilson,who visited the island of Tonga in the Eastern Pacific at the end of the eighteenth century,wrote that its government“re-sembles most the government of Japan where the sacred majesty is a sort of state prisoner to the captain-general。”The Tongan Sacred Chief were isolated from public affairs,but they performed ritual duties。They had to receive he first fruits of the gardens and con-duct a ceremony before any man could eat of them。When the Sacred Chief died,his death was announced by the phrase,“The heavens are void。”He was buried with cere-mony in a great royal tomb。But he took no part in administration。

  The Emperor,even when he was politically impotent and“a sort of State prisoner to the Captain-general,”filled,according to Japanese definitions,a“proper station”in the hierarchy。The Emperor's active participation in mundane affairs was to them no measure of his status。His court at Kyoto was a value they preserved all through the long centuries of the rule of the Barbarian-subduing Generalissimos。His functions were su-perfluous only from a Western point of view。The Japanese,who at every point were ac-customed to rigorous definition of hierarchal role,looked at the matter differently。

  The extreme explicitness of the Japanese hierarchal system in feudal times,from outcast to Emperor,has left its strong impress on modern Japan。After all,the feudal regime was legally ended only about seventy-five years ago,and strong national habits do not pass away within one man's lifetime。Japanese statesmen of the modern period,too,laid their careful plans,as we shall see in the next chapter,to preserve a great deal of the system in spite of radical alterations in their country's objectives。The Japanese,more than any other sovereign nation,have been conditioned to a world where the smal-lest details of conduct are mapped and status is assigned。During two centuries when law and order were maintained in such a world with an iron hand,the Japanese learned to i-dentify this meticulously plotted hierarchy with safety and security。So long as they stayed within known boundaries,and so long as they fulfilled known obligations,they could trust their world。Banditry was controlled。Civil war between the daimyo was prevented。If subjects could prove that others had overstepped their rights,they could appeal as the farmers did when they were exploited。It was personally dangerous but it was approved。The best of the Tokugawa Shoguns even had a Complaint Box into which any citizen could drop his protest,and the Shogun alone had a key to his box。There were genuine guarantees in Japan that aggressions would be rectified if they were acts that were not al-lowed on the existing map of conduct。One trusted the map and was safe only when one followed it。One showed one's courage,one's integrity in conforming to it,not in modif-ying it or in revolting against it。Within its stated limits,it was a known and,in their eyes,a dependable world。Its rules were not abstract ethical principles of a Decalogue but tiny specifications of what was due in this situation and what was due in that situa-tion;what was due if one were a samurai and what was due if one were a common man;what was proper to elder brother and what was proper to younger brother。

  The Japanese did not become a mild and submissive people under this system,as some nations have under a strong-handed hierarchal regime。It is important to recognize that certain guarantees were given to each class。Even the outcasts were guaranteed a monopoly of their special trades and their self-governing bodies were recognized by the authorities。Restrictions upon each class were great but there were order and security too。

  The caste restrictions also had a certain flexibility they do not have,for instance,in India。Japanese customs provided several explicit techniques for manipulating the sys-tem without doing violence to the accepted ways。A man could change his caste status in several ways。When money lenders and merchants became wealthy,as they inevitably did under Japan's money economy,the rich used various traditional devices to infiltrate the upper classes。They became“land owners”by the use of liens and rents。It is true that the peasants'land was inalienable but farm rents were excessively high in Japan and it was profitable to leave the peasants on their land。Money lenders settled on the land and collected their rents,and such“ownership”of land gave prestige as well as profit in Japan。Their children married samurai。They became gentry。

  Another traditional manipulation of the case system was through the custom of adop-tion。It provided a way of“buying”samurai status。As merchants became richer in spite of all Tokugawa restrictions,they arranged for their sons'adoption into samurai families。

  In Japan one seldom adopts a son;one adopts a husband for one's daughter。He is known as an“adopted husband。”He becomes the heir of his father-in-law。He pays a high price,for his name is stricken from his own family register and entered on his wife's。He takes her name and goes to live with his mother-in-law。But if the price is high,the advantages are also great。For the prosperous merchant's family gets an alli-ance with wealth。No violence is done to the caste system which remains just what it al-ways was。But the system has been manipulated to provide upper-class status for the wealthy。

  Japan therefore did not require castes to marry only among themselves。There were approved arrangements which allowed intermarriage among them。The resulting infiltra-tion of prosperous traders into the lower samurai class played a large part in furthering one of the greatest contrasts between Western Europe and Japan。When feudalism broke down in Europe it was due to the pressure of a growing and increasingly powerful middle class and this class dominated the modern industrial period。In Japan no such strong middle class arose。The merchants and money lenders“bought”upper-class status by sanctioned methods。Merchants and lower samurai became allies。It is a curious and surprising thing to point out that at the time when feudalism was in its death throes in both civilizations,Japan sanctioned class mobility to a greater degree than continental Europe did,but no evidence for such a statement could be more convincing than the lack of any sign of a class war between aristocracy and bourgeoisie。

  It is easy to point out that the common cause made by these two classes was mutual-ly advantageous in Japan,but it would have been mutually advantageous in France too。It was advantageous in Western Europe in those individual instances where it occurred。But class rigidity was strong in Europe and the conflict of classes led in France to the ex-propriation of the aristocracy。In Japan they drew closer together。The alliance that over-threw the effete Shogunate was an alliance between the merchant-financiers and the sam-urai retainers。The modern era in Japan preserved the aristocratic system。It could hard-ly have happened without Japan's sanctioned techniques for class mobility。

  If the Japanese loved and trusted their meticulously explicit map of behavior,they had a certain justification。It guaranteed security so long as one followed the rules;it al-lowed protests against unauthorized aggressions and it could be manipulated to one's own advantage。It required the fulfillment of reciprocal obligations。When the Tokugawa re-gime crumbled in the first half of the nineteenth century,no group in the nation was in favor of tearing up the map。There was no French Revolution。There was not even an 1848.Yet the times were desperate。From the common people to the Shogunate,every class had fallen into debt to the money lenders and merchants。The mere numbers of the non-productive classes and the scale of customary official expenditures had proved insup-portable。The daimyo as the grip of poverty tightened upon them were unable to pay the fixed stipends to their samurai retainers and the whole network of feudal ties became a mockery。They tried to keep afloat by increasing the already heavy taxes upon the peas-ants。These were collected years in advance and the farmers were reduced to extreme want。The Shogunate too was bankrupt and could do little to keep the status quo。Japan was in dire domestic extremity by 1853 when Admiral Perry appeared with his men of war。His forced entry was followed in 1858 by a trade treaty with the United States which Japan was in no position to refuse。

  The cry that went up from Japan,however,was Isshin-to dig back into the past,to restore。It was the opposite of revolutionary。It was not even progressive。Joined with the cry“Restore the Emperor”was the equally popular cry“Expel the Barbarians。”The nation supported the program of going back to a golden age of isolation and the few leaders who saw how impossible such a course would be were assassinated for their pains。There seemed not the slightest likelihood that this non-revolutionary country of Japan would alter its course to conform to any Occidental patterns,still less that in fifty years it would compete with Western nations on their own grounds。Nevertheless,that is what happened。Japan used her own strengths,which were not at all the Occidental strengths,to achieve a goal which no powerful high-placed group and no popular opinion in Japan demanded。No Westerner in the eighteen-sixties would have believed if he had seen the future in a crystal ball。There seemed to be no cloud the size of a man's hand on the horizon to indicate the tumult of activity which swept Japan during the next dec-ades。Nevertheless,the impossible happened。Japan's backward and hierarchy-ridden population swung to a new course and held it。



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