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There are no archaeological traces of the
existence of the Kumaso or the Tsuchi-gumo, and however probable it
may seem, in view of the accessibility of Japan from the mainland,
not only while she formed part of the latter but even after the two
had become separate, that several races co-existed with the Yemishi
and that a very mixed population carried on the neolithic culture,
there is no tangible evidence that such was the case. Further, the
indications furnished by mythology that the Yamato were
intellectually in touch with central, if not with western Asia, are
re-enforced by archaeological suggestions of a civilization and even
of physical traits cognate with the Caucasian.

ENGRAVING: DRUM AND MASK

ENGRAVING: "NO" MASKS



CHAPTER VII

LANGUAGE AND PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

LANGUAGE

HOWEVER numerous may have been the races that contributed originally
to people Japan, the languages now spoken there are two only, Ainu
and Japanese. They are altogether independent tongues. The former
undoubtedly was the language of the Yemishi; the latter, that of the
Yamato. From north to south all sections of the Japanese nation--the
Ainu of course excepted--use practically the same speech. Varieties
of local dialects exist, but they show no traits of survival from
different languages. On the contrary, in few countries of Japan's
magnitude does corresponding uniformity of speech prevail from end to
end of the realm. It cannot reasonably be assumed that, during a
period of some twenty-five centuries and in the face of steady
extermination, the Yemishi preserved their language quite distinct
from that of their conquerors, whereas the various languages spoken
by the other races peopling the island were fused into a whole so
homogeneous as to defy all attempts at differentiation. The more
credible alternative is that from time immemorial the main elements
of the Japanese nation belonged to the same race, and whatever they
received from abroad by way of immigration became completely absorbed
and assimilated in the course of centuries.

No diligent attempt has yet been made to trace the connexion--if any
exist--between the Ainu tongue and the languages of northeastern
Asia, but geology, history, and archaeology suffice to indicate that
the Yemishi reached Japan at the outset from Siberia. The testimony
of these three sources is by no means so explicit in the case of the
Yamato, and we have to consider whether the language itself does not
furnish some better guide. "Excepting the twin sister tongue spoken
in the Ryukyu Islands," writes Professor Chamberlain, "the Japanese
language has no kindred, and its classification under any of the
recognized linguistic families remains doubtful. In structure, though
not to any appreciable extent in vocabulary, it closely resembles
Korean, and both it and Korean may possibly be related to Mongol and
to Manchu, and might therefore lay claim to be included in the
so-called 'Altaic group' In any case, Japanese is what philologists
call an agglutinative tongue; that is to say, it builds up its words
and grammatical forms by means of suffixes loosely soldered to the
root or stem, which is invariable."

This, written in 1905, has been supplemented by the ampler researches
of Professor S. Kanazawa, who adduces such striking evidences of
similarity between the languages of Japan and Korea that one is
almost compelled to admit the original identity of the two. There are
no such affinities between Japanese and Chinese. Japan has borrowed
largely, very largely, from China. It could scarcely have been
otherwise. For whereas the Japanese language in its original form--a
form which differs almost as much from its modern offspring as does
Italian from Latin--has little capacity for expansion, Chinese has
the most potential of all known tongues in that respect. Chinese may
be said to consist of a vast number of monosyllables, each expressed
by a different ideograph, each having a distinct significance, and
each capable of combination and permutation with one or more of the
others, by which combinations and permutations disyllabic and
trisyllabic words are obtained representing every conceivable shade
of meaning.

It is owing to this wonderful elasticity that Japan, when suddenly
confronted by foreign arts and sciences, soon succeeded in building
up for herself a vocabulary containing all the new terms, and
containing them in self-explaining forms. Thus "railway" is expressed
by tetsu-do, which consists of the two monosyllables tetsu (iron) and
do (way); "chemistry" by kagaku, or the learning (gaku) of changes
(ka); "torpedo" by suirai, or water (sui) thunder (rai); and each of
the component monosylables being written with an ideograph which
conveys its own meaning, the student has a term not only appropriate
but also instructive. Hundreds of such words have been manufactured
in Japan during the past half-century to equip men for the study of
Western learning, and the same process, though on a very much smaller
scale, had been going on continuously for many centuries, so that the
Japanese language has come to embody a very large number of Chinese
words, though they are not pronounced as the Chinese pronounce the
corresponding ideographs.

Yet 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.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RACES

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.

As for the Mongol-proper type, which is seen in the lower classes and
even then not very frequently, its representative is squarely built,
and has prominent cheek-bones, oblique eyes, a more or less flat nose
with a large mouth. The Malay type is much commoner. Its
characteristics are small stature, good and sometimes square build, a
face round or angular, prominent cheek-bones, large horizontal eyes,
a weak chin, a short neck, broad well-developed chest, short legs,
and small delicate hands. As for the Ainu type, Dr. Baelz finds it
astonishing that they have left so little trace in the Japanese
nation. "Yet those who have studied the pure Ainu closely will
observe, particularly in the northern provinces, a not insignificant
number of individuals bearing the marks of Ainu blood. The most
important marks are: a short, thickly set body; prominent bones with
bushy hair, round deep-set eyes with long divergent lashes, a
straight nose, and a large quantity of hair on the face and body all
qualities which bring the Ainu much nearer to the European than to
the Japanese proper."

GENERAL PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

In addition to physical characteristics which indicate distinctions
of race among the inhabitants of Japan, there are peculiarities
common to a majority of the nation at large. One of these is an
abnormally large head. In the typical European the height of the head
is less than one-seventh of the stature and in Englishmen it is often
one-eighth. In the Japanese is it appreciably more than one-seventh.
Something of this may be attributed to smallness of stature, but such
an explanation is only partial.

Shortness of legs in relation to the trunk is another marked feature.
"Long or short legs are mainly racial in origin.



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