4 NOVEMBER 1905, Page 14

MR. STEAD has scarcely chosen the right word for the

snbt. title of his book. Whatever its merits, it has none of the features of a "study." It is a compendium of interesting facts and less interesting opinions ; but we look in vain in it for any serious and scientific analysis of a national life. Indeed, we have no right to expect it. For a foreigner to pronounce with any authority on the nature of an alien society he must have given years to the study of it, and have 4. Great Japan: a Study of National Efficiency. By Alfred Stead. Math, a Foreword by the Earl of Bosebery, X.G. London : John Lane. [10e. ed. n04

enjoyed special facilities of birth or training for its adequate 'understanding. In the case of a new people the task is almost hopeless, especially when that people is an Oriental one, whose spiritual language must still be a little strange to Western ears. Mr. Stead is a young and capable journalist, and it goes without saying that his book, and Lord Rosebery's preface, are excellent journalism. The two writers have no doubt

about their competence, and, while one tumbles into his page' a quantity of details about Japan grouped under sweeping

generalities, the other claims the nation as a type of that mystic thing, "efficiency," and deduces an emphatic moral for our current politics. Frankly, we are not impressed by these eulogies. A national life is too subtle a thing to be summed up in a set of platitudes ; we want fewer "bare universals," and a closer analysis. The virtuous hero of a novel rarely carries conviction, and no more does this picture of a great nation as a sort of glorified Fairchild Family, dowered with a monopoly of the purer human emotions. It is good enough journalism, but it is not good enough political science. Mr. Stead's book is a kind of Cook's Tour through Japan, where the main objects of interest are pointed out in stereotyped phrases. It seems to us to be as far from an intimate

and illuminating study of the land and people as the comments of the ordinary cicerone on St. Peter's are from a real criticism

'of its history and architecture. Mr. Stead is not to blame,

except in so far as he has set himself a grandiose purpose when the data were still inadequate. He is compelled to

cite lengthy passages from every kind of writer,—well-known

.Japanese publicists, publicists whose names are obscure, publicists who are given no names at all, and he is even

driven to resort to the remarks of hasty Press corre- spondents. To collect all these into a book is to tell us nothing new about Japan, and the author's own contributions are mainly the kind of platitudes which most men are quite capable of inventing for themselves. A study, as we said to begin with, the work has no claim to be, and even as a com- pilation it might have been better done. A great deal of verbiage might have been omitted, certain crudities of style might have been corrected, and if French phrases had to be used, they might at least have been written correctly.

The writer's aim is to "demonstrate the advantageous effects to be derived from a universal and practical patriotism." The main constituents of this patriotism have been so often expounded that the story is almost too familiar, and yet no repetition can quite stale the wonders of the transformation wrought in an incredibly short space of time by the sheer force of a patriotic ideal. Unlike most revolu- tions, it meant the establishment, not of a prejudice, but of a regime of pure unbiassed reason. "After careful study and observation," ran the Emperor's Rescript of 1871, "I am deeply impressed with the belief that the most powerful and enlightened nations of the world are those who have made diligent efforts to cultivate their minds, and sought to develop their country in the fullest and most perfect manner." This, following on the "Five Articles of the Imperial Oath," which based the government substantially on the popular will, was the foundation of modern Japan. Western methods were studied, not that Japan might become Occidentalised, but that she might remain Japanese, and use foreign science to consolidate her power. "When the Japanese come in contact with a foreign civilisation," Baron Kaneko writes, "they always go through three stages of evolution: First, they pass through the stage of imitation But after some years of imitation they arrive

at a stage of adaptation; then at last they reach the stage of origination." It is the peculiar merit of the Japanese era of receptivity that the.final stage was the conscious ideal from the first. In their Aufkldrung there was singularly little of the crudeness and hysteria which are associated with intellectual revolutions. Partly this was due, no doubt, to the fact that the primary motive was patriotism, which kept always a practical end in view; partly to that strange code of chivalry, called Bushido, of which the best statement is a couplet quoted by Mr. Stead :—

" Subdue first of all thine own self,

Next thy friends, and last thy foes."

The ancestor-worship, which brings their young men con- stantly into touch with elder generations, and throws over the present the glamour of the past, completed the bulwark of tradition and gave its votaries an intense spirituality. Togo's address after victory to the spirits of the dead could

not have been spoken by any blind materialist Hence the chief danger of a time of national awakening—a feeble love of change and a bondage to low standards of prosperity—was made impossible by the strong traditions of the race, which gave it a patriotic idealism of the loftiest type. To move the world a fulcrum must first be found, and to look round and dispassionately select the best from other civilisations requires a very solid racial stability to be free from periL It is because Japan is so firmly rooted in her own past that she can safely and effectively change all her methods and details. She can judge other codes calmly and tolerantly, she can play the part of honorary member of all creeds, because at the back of her quest for new things is her ancient creed, to which she owes an unswerving fidelity. We may find fault with that creed, but we must admit that the attitude which it enjoins towards change and progress is beyond praise. In Emerson's words, she— "To her native centre fast Can into future fuse the past

And the world's flowing fates in her own mould recast."

All this we know vaguely and generally, but for a deeper insight we must go to the few writers, like Lafeadio Hearn, who have looked into the heart of the people, and not to the compilations of journalists. On the practical side, however, Mr. Stead has much of interest to tell. We commend his chapter on education to the attention of our educational reformers in search of a system which shall combine practical value with intellectual thoroughness. Of the industrial development of the country during the past two decades Mr. Stead gives an interesting account and some almost in- credible figures. In 1881 the revenue was 71,000,000 yen; now it is 305,000,000 yen. The exports were 56,000,000 yen in 1890; in 1904 they were 319,000,000 yen, and equalled the imports. Japan is, indeed, a good instance of the true place of protective measures in economic policy, when a new country at a temporary sacrifice wishes to create local industries or her own steamship lines. The result has

justified the experiment " In 1894 goods were imported to the value of 5,746,869 yen in Japanese steamers, 62,936,982 yen in British in 1903 the figures were respectively 114,276,588 yen, 88,848,936 yen." From five to one hundred and fourteen millions is a respectable increase for ten years' time I Japan has resolved to miss no method of increasing her economic strength. By means of experimental stations and credit banks she has established agriculture, the founds,- tion of her wealth, on perhaps the most scientific basis known in the modern world; she has carried technical education to a high pitch; she trains her Consuls for the task of furthering her commercial interests; and she has succeeded in inspiring trade enterprise with the same patriotic motive which exists elsewhere in her national life. It is true that her reputation for commercial morality is still low; but Mr. Stead ascribes this fact, probably rightly, to the short time which has elapsed since commerce was regarded as a degraded calling, and thinks that with its new ideals the vice will speedily dis- appear. We have not space to follow the author through the various departments of which he treats ; but we would especially recommend his account of the measures taken to humanise war, and of that brilliant experiment in scientific colonisation, the settlement of Formosa. One comment be makes which seems to us both correct and worthy of all attention. Japan will probably introduce a new form of diplomacy, based on a far wider and more sympathetic under- standing of other States than is possible to most Govern- ments. Having borrowed from all the world, without losing her own racial identity, she may well be the apostle of a new internationPlism which does not, like ordinary cosmo- politanism, stand in contradistinction to patriotism, but rather represents it in its most sincere and intelligent form.