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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Baelz assigns the higher classes in Japan


in spite of this intimate relation, re-enforced as it is by a common script, the two languages remain radically distinct; whereas between Japanese and Korean the resemblance of structure and accidence amounts almost to identity. Japanese philologists allege that no affinity can be traced between their language and the tongues of the Malay, the South Sea islanders, the natives of America and Africa, or the Eskimo, whereas they do find that their language bears a distinct resemblance to Manchu, Persian, and Turkish. Some go so far as to assert that Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit are nearer to Japanese than they are to any European language. These questions await fuller investigation.


The Japanese are of distinctly small stature. The average height of the man is 160 centimetres (5 feet 3.5 inches) and that of the woman 147 centimetres (4 feet 10 inches). They are thus smaller than any European race, the only Occidentals over whom they possess an advantage in this respect being the inhabitants of two Italian provinces. [Baelz.] Their neighbours, the Chinese and the Koreans, are taller, the average height of the northern Chinese being 168 centimetres (5 feet 7 inches), and that of the Koreans 164 centimetres (5 feet 5.5 inches). Nevertheless, Professor Dr. Baelz, the most eminent authority on this subject, avers that "the three great nations of eastern Asia are essentially of the same

race," and that observers who consider them to be distinct "have been misled by external appearances." He adds: "Having made a special study of the race question in eastern Asia, I can assert that comity of race in general is clearly proved by the anatomical qualities of the body. In any case the difference between them is much smaller than that between the inhabitants of northern and southern Europe."

The marked differences in height, noted above, do not invalidate this dictum: they show merely that the Asiatic yellow race has several subdivisions. Among these subdivisions the more important are the Manchu-Korean type, the Mongol proper, the Malay, and the Ainu. To the first, namely the Manchu-Korean, which predominates in north China and in Korea, Baelz assigns the higher classes in Japan; that is to say, the men regarded as descendants of the Yamato. They have "slender, elegant and often tall figures, elongated faces with not very prominent cheek-bones, more or less slanting eyes, aquiline noses, large upper teeth, receding chins, long slender necks, narrow chests, long trunks, thin limbs, and often long fingers, while the hair on the face and body is scarce." Dr. Munro, however, another eminent authority, holds that, "judging from the Caucasian and often Semitic physiognomy seen in the aristocratic type of Japanese, the Yamato were mainly of Caucasic, perhaps Iranian, origin. These were the warriors, the conquerors of Japan, and afterwards the aristocracy, modified to some extent by mingling with a Mongoloid rank and file, and by a considerable addition of Ainu." He remarks that a white skin was the ideal of the Yamato, as is proved by their ancient poetry.

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