Japan in the Victorian Mind: A Study of Stereotyped Images by Toshio Yokoyama

By Toshio Yokoyama

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By Toshio Yokoyama

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Japanese women's 'fair station in society' and the 'fidelity of the wife' and the 'purity of the maiden', 47 he completely omitted what Mrs Husk had added about the Japanese wife's 'complete dependence' on her husband, sons and other relatives. Mrs Busk had also maintained subsequently that the Japanese wife had been treated 'rather as a toy for her husband's recreation, than as the rational, confidential partner of his life'. 48 In Russell's readers' eyes, Japanese women were bound to appear very independent and responsible by themselves.

7° Knox could have avoided mentioning this custom, which, according to Mrs Busk, had been rarely practised. 71 But he thought that he could 'not pass over [the matter] without a 'This Singular Country' II cursory not,ce', 12 and he wrote about it without referring to the rarity of its practice. The third topic, which also promoted the 'singular' or 'extraordinary' tag, was the religion of Japan. Knox, in this respect, seems to have based his accounts mostly on Kaempfer's History of Japan. Among the various religions of the country, Knox took interest in Shintoism as 'the state religion of Japan'.

He pointed out the existence of civilisation in Japan, which, he claimed, other Asian countries did not possess. For example, on India, he wrote: We refuse to accept the architectural monuments of India as tests of civilization. They are proofs of superstition and slavery - nothing more. 102 He also declared that the Chinese had been held by the Japanese at arm's length through the centuries, that the latter esteemed them 'not without reason, to be an inferior race'. 101 According to Knox, the Japanese regarded the Chinese as 'Brian de Bois Gilbert would have thought and spoken of Isaac, the Money-changer, in Scott's romance'.

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