By J M W Silver
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In addition to this acknowledged system, government officials are frequently watched by secret spies, who, for aught they know, may be some apparently trusty friend: so that, even in the absence of their double, they can never be certain that they are free from supervision. In private life families spy on each other, for which purpose they are divided into coteries of five households, the heads of which are not only responsible for themselves, their families and servants, but also for the other members of the coterie; and any wrong-doing in one household must be immediately reported to the proper authorities, to secure the rest from sharing in the punishment of the offence.
The espionage system is perhaps the strangest, as every one in the country is subjected to it, from the Mikado and Tycoon, or spiritual and temporal emperors, to the humblest of the people. All offices of importance are double; that is to say, every governor of a town or district is associated with a vice-governor, who is an 'ometsky,' or 'spy,' upon him, and is in turn spied upon by others. In this way a constant check is kept upon the executive of the empire. In addition to this acknowledged system, government officials are frequently watched by secret spies, who, for aught they know, may be some apparently trusty friend: so that, even in the absence of their double, they can never be certain that they are free from supervision.
The illustration represents a chrysanthemum show. These flowers are much esteemed by the Japanese, who pay more attention to size and brilliancy of colour than to perfume. ' On it, poetry in praise of flowers is inscribed. This is a custom of very ancient origin, and poetical inscriptions on stones and rocks are to be often seen in public places. The piece of ornamental stonework is an 'ishedoro,' or 'stone lamp,' which is very common in gardens, and is much prized on account of the historical associations connected with it.