By Toshio Yokoyama

ISBN-10: 1349083720

ISBN-13: 9781349083725

ISBN-10: 1349083747

ISBN-13: 9781349083749

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Extra resources for Japan in the Victorian Mind: A Study of Stereotyped Images of a Nation 1850–80

Example text

His own experiences in 'the East' thus enabled him to perceive the affinities between religious traditions in various Asian countries. "~ In sum, both Knox and Russell, when dealing with the three ~opics discussed above, showed great sensitivity to whatever they found in earlier writings about Japan that differed from familiar practices in the West. It is, therefore, undeniable that some of those earlier writings were partly responsible for creating in these two writers' minds the notion of 'singularity' or 'extraordinariness' for Japan.

61 They were, for instance, that 'his victuals must always be served in new dishes', and that these dishes must be destroyed after each use because it was believed that if any layman should use them they would swell and inflame his mouth and throat. Russell continued summarising Kaempfer's account of the Mikado: In ancient times, he was obliged to sit on the throne for some hours every morning ... like a statue, without stirring either hands or feet, head or eyes, nor indeed any part of his body, because, by this means, it was thought that he could preserve peace and tranquillity in his empire.

19 In his reports, quite a few impressive Japanese women appeared. For example, Lord Elgin and his suite went out of Edo for an excursion and took refreshment in a peach-garden. They were attended by 'a remarkably good-looking, lady-like woman'. According to Osborn, 'nothing could have been more graceful than her manner; and the posture of kneeling, accompanied by a low bow to signify prostration at one's feet'. 20 Osborn was impressed by 'a high social position' held by the Japanese women, and made the following comparison: She is not cooped up in pestiferous apartment to delight some fattened-up Chinese mandarin, or greasy Brahmin, but ...

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Japan in the Victorian Mind: A Study of Stereotyped Images of a Nation 1850–80 by Toshio Yokoyama

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