CHAPTER XXXVI. ANCIENT JAPAN

The development of China is not only elucidated by documents and events probably antecedent to the strictly historical period, such as the supposed voyage of an Emperor to the Far West, but it is also made easier to understand when we consider its possible indirect effects upon Japan. The barbarian kingdom of Wu does not really appear in Chinese history at all, even by name, until the year 585 B.C. It was found then that it had traditions of its own, and a line of kings extending back to the beginning of the Chou dynasty (1122 B.C.), and even farther beyond. In 585 B.C. the new King, Shou-meng, hitherto an unknown and obscure vassal of Ts'u, altogether beyond the ken of orthodox China, felt quite strong enough, as we have seen in Chapter VII., to strike out an independent line of his own. It is a singular thing that, when the Japanese set about constructing a nomenclature (on Chinese posthumous lines) for their newly discovered back history in the eighth century A.D., they should have fixed upon exactly this year 585 B.C. for the death of their supposed first Mikado Jimmu (i.e. Shen-wu, the "divinely martial"). The next three Kings of Wu, all of whom, like himself, bore dissyllabic and meaningless barbarian names, were sons of Shou-meng, and a fourth son was the cultured Ki-chah, who visited orthodox China several times, both as a spy and in order to improve himself. Then follow two sons of the last and first, respectively, of the said three brothers. The second of these royal cousins was killed in battle, and his son Fu-ch'ai vowed a terrible, vengeance against Ts'u, whose capital he subsequently took and sacked in 506 B.C. Now appears upon the scene his own vassal, Yiieh, and at first Wu gets the best of it in battle. Bloodthirsty wars follow between the two, full of picturesque and convincing detail, until at last the King of Yiieh, in turn, has the King of Wu at his mercy; but he was, though a barbarian, magnanimously disposed, and accordingly he offered Fu-ch'ai the island of Chusan (so well known to us on account of our troops having occupied it in 1840) and three hundred married families to keep him company. But Fu-ch'ai was too proud to accept this Elba, the more especially so because he had it on his conscience that he had been acting throughout against the earnest advice of his faithful minister (a Ts'u renegade), whom he had put to death for his frankness. This adviser as he perished had cried out: "Don't forget to pluck my eyes out and stick them on the east gate, so that I may witness the entry of the Yiieh troops!" He therefore committed suicide, first veiling his face because, as he said: "I have no face to offer my adviser when I meet him in the next world; if, on the other hand, the dead have no knowledge, then it does not matter what I do." After the beginning of our Christian era, when the direct communication between Japan (overland via Corea) and China (also by sea to Wu) was first officially noticed by the historians, it was recorded by the Chinese annalists that part of Fu-ch'ai's personal following had escaped in ships towards the east, and had founded a state in Japan. But it must not be forgotten that then (473 B.C.) orthodox China had never yet heard of Japan in any form, though of course it is possible that the maritime states of Wu and Yiieh may have had junk intercourse with many islands in the Pacific.

We have already ventured upon a few remarks upon this subject in Chapter XXIII., but so much is apt to be made out of slight historical materials-such, for instance, as the pleasure expedition of a Chinese emperor in 984 B.C. to the Tarim Valley - that it may be useful to suggest the true proportions, and the modest possible bearing of this "Japanese" migration - assuming the slender record of it to be true; and the basis of truth is by no means a broad one; still less is it capable of sustaining a heavy superstructure.

Any one visiting Japan will notice that there are several distinct types of men in that country, the squat and vulgar, the oval-faced and refined, and many variations of these two; just as, in England, we have the Norman, Saxon, Irish, and Scotch types of face, with many other nuances. It is also clear from the kitchen-midden and other prehistoric remains; from the presence, even now, in Japan of the bearded Ainus (a word meaning in their own language "men"); and from the numerous accounts of Ainu- Japanese wars in both Chinese and Japanese history, that there were (as there still are) manners, and possibly yet other men, in ancient Japan, both very different from the manners and appearance of the cultured and gifted race, viewed as a homogeneous whole, we are now so proud to have as our political allies. But that brings us no nearer a historical solution, It is a persistent way with all ethnologists to search out whence this or that race came. Of course all races move and mingle, and must always have moved and mingled, when by so doing they could better their circumstances of life; but even if movement has taken place in Japan as it has elsewhere, there is no reason why, if comparatively uncivilized Japanese displaced Ainus, Ainus should not have, before that, displaced quite uncivilized Japanese; or, if other races came over the seas to displace the people already there, the natives already there should not have, later on, ejected these new-comers by sea routes.