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A Fantasy of Far Japan by Baron Kencho Suyematsu

Produced by Andrea Ball, Christine Bell, and Marc d'Hooghe at http://www.freeliterature.org

A FANTASY OF FAR JAPAN

or

Summer Dream Dialogues

By

BARON SUYEMATSU

Author of 'THE RISEN SUN'

London

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND COMPANY, LTD.

1905

_LE SAMURAI_

_C'etait un homme a deux sabres._

_D'un doigt distrait frolant la sonore biva,_ _A travers les bambous tresses en fine latte,_ _Elle a vu, par la plage eblouissante et plate,_ _S'avancer le vainqueur que son amour reva._

_C'est lui. Sabres au flanc, l'eventail haut, il va._ _La cordeliere rouge et le gland ecarlate_ _Coupent l'armure sombre, et, sur l'epaule, eclate_ _Le blason de Hizen et de Tokugawa._

_Ce beau guerrier vetu de lames et de plaques_ _Sous le bronze, la soie et les brillantes laques_ _Semble un crustace noir, gigantesque et vermeil._

_Il l'a vue. Il sourit dans la barbe du masque,_ _Et son pas plus hatif fait reluire au soleil_ _Les deux antennes d'or qui tremblent a son casque._

JOSE-MARIA DE HEREDIA.

PREFACE

In the following pages I have depicted certain Japanese ideals and notions, as well as some historical facts which seemed likely to interest those of the sympathetic Western public who may be inclined to study the mental side of Japan.

The dialogues are founded upon actual conversations, not indeed always in exactly the same phraseology, nor under exactly the same circumstances, but something very like. The questions put into the mouths of the characters in the book are the kind of questions which are being constantly put to me, and my answers are always on the same lines; so that my readers may regard the book as a serious treatise so far as the materials are concerned. This is the reason why I have written this book in a light, conversational style, and not in the form of an ordinary critical or expository treatise. Besides, I thought that more lucidity of exposition and more penetration into the inner views could be achieved by writing in the way I have done.

The period to which these conversations relate is chiefly the summer of the present year, 1905, and the greater part of this book was written before peace was concluded, and therefore there may be occasionally some dicta which sound somewhat polemic. On that point I can request my readers to show leniency.

I have appended to the dialogues a few papers on various subjects. They deal with subjects germane to those treated in the body of the work, and it is hoped that they will afford the reader first aid in acquiring information relative to the analysis of Japanese social life which has here, however imperfectly, been attempted.

I may add a few words. In publishing this volume, I am not in the least degree actuated by a desire to exalt my country unduly,--still less to boast about her achievements. My sole object has been to show Japan as she is, and to claim Occidental sympathy to such a degree as she may deserve.


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