The Romance of Japan through the Ages

The Romance of Japan through the Ages

The Romance of Japan through the Ages

The Romance of Japan through the Ages

Excerpt

In 1854 Commodore Perry opened Japan to the puzzled gaze of Westerners, who long continued to scrutinize it as a quaint box of curios. In 1894 curiosity deepened into wonder as young Japan proved able to cope with huge China after such a brief session of Western schooling. In 1904 wonder became amazement as the infant prodigy came to grips with Russia, then known as the Colossus of the North, and, by winning this second war in a decade, won also a place as a world power. In 1924 the youngest of world powers arose dauntless from the most dreadful disaster ever dealt by nature's hand to any people, only to face international problems of crucial importance with patience, wisdom, and skill.

Back of such power of achievement lies a story of unique fascination. That story has often been cast into the molds of conventional history, but this book attempts something else. It is written for the Man in the Street, in the belief that he is interested in history as a means to a practical end--as the necessary means, in this case, of understanding somewhat more clearly the Japan of to-day, America's next-door neighbor. The attempt is here made to pick out the high lights of history and so to arrange them as to illuminate the main steps of Japan's progress, with especial reference to her position to-day. Representative characters are touched in at full length, for a people may perhaps best be judged by its heroes. The spiritual hero of all Eastern Asia certainly has to be reckoned with,--Gautama the Buddha,--and Shintō

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