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The Land of the Morning; an Account of Japan and its People

    Abstract

    GENERAL works in Japan have increased so rapidly in recent years that the claims of every new writer on the subject may well be examined with attention. Those of Mr. Dixon are that he resided four years in Tôkiô as Professor in the Engineering College there, that he travelled over nearly four thousand miles of the country, including many remote and mountainous districts, and that he was thrown into contact with representatives of all classes of Japanese society from Cabinet Ministers to peasants. To these may be added the further circumstance that really accurate and valuable books, such as those of Sir Edward Reed and Miss Bird, are somewhat expensive, while Mr. Dixon desired to furnish a moderate-sized volume at a moderate price. In this we think he has succeeded. “The Land of the Morning” is a handsome volume of nearly 700 pages, with numerous illustrations. When we examine the contents of the work, we find that they are in every way worthy of their handsome exterior. After a brief and appaiently accurate sketch of Japanese history, and especially of the troubles which led to the revolution of 1868, Mr. Dixon describes new Japan, its institutions, and people. This he does with a sympathy which is all the more praiseworthy that it is the result of four years' close observation, and not the newly-developed ardour of a casual visitor. We turn with especial interest to Mr. Dixon's account of Japanese students. Many young men from Japan have shown themselves matches for brilliant European students, not withstanding the initial obstacle which they have to overcome in acquiring the language; these, however, are clearly exceptions, and we therefore look to Mr. Dixon's experience for an account of the average Japanese student. He has devoted a whole chapter to the subject, and the picture is in some respects not a pleasant one.

    The Land of the Morning; an Account of Japan and its People.

    By William Gray Dixon (Edinburgh: James Gemmell, 1882.)

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