D O C U M E N T 3 9 1 I M P R E S S I O N S I N J A P A N 3 3 7 undone. Published and unpublished Dame Repute helps force to completion what is mostly already sufficiently secured by a Japanese upbringing and an innate kindheartedness.[15] The cohesion of extended families in material respects, mutual support, is facil- itated by an individual complaisance about bed and board.[16] A European can generally[17] accommodate one person in his apartment without there being percep- tible disruption[18] to the household order. Thus a European man can mostly only care for his wife and children, all being well. Often wives, even women of higher status, must[19] help earn a living and leave the children’s education to the servants. It is even rare that adult siblings, let alone more distant relatives, provide for one another. But there is a second reason, as well, that makes closer protective ties between individuals easier in this country than where we live. It is the characteristic Japa- nese tradition of not expressing one’s feelings and emotions but staying calm and relaxed in all circumstances. This is the basis upon which many persons, even those not in mental harmony with one another, can live under a single roof without embarrassing frictions and conflicts arising. Herein lies, it appears to me, the deeper sense of the Japanese smile, which is so puzzling to a European. Does this upbringing to suppress the expression of an individual’s feelings lead to an inner loss, a suppression of the individual himself? I do not think so. The development of this tradition was surely facilitated by a refined sensitivity characteristic to this nation and by an intense sense of compassion, which seems to be more potent than for a European. A rough word does not injure a European any less than it does a Japanese. The former immediately counters by stepping forward to the offensive, amply repaying in kind. A Japanese withdraws, wounded, and— weeps. How often is the Japanese inability to utter sharp words interpreted as false- ness and dishonesty! For a foreigner like me it is not easy to delve deeply into the Japanese mind. Being received everywhere with the greatest attention in festive garb, I hear more carefully weighed words than meaningful ones that inadvertently slip out of the depths of the soul. But what escapes me in direct experience with people is com- pleted by the impressions of art, which is so richly and diversely appreciated in Japan as in no other country. With “art” I mean all things of permanence that human hands create here by aesthetical intent or secondary[20] motivation. In this regard I never cease to be astonished and amazed. Nature and people seem to have united to bring forth a uniformity in style as nowhere else. Everything that truly originates from this country is delicate and joyful, not abstractly meta- physical but always quite closely connected with what is given in nature. Delicate is the landscape with its small green islets or hills, delicate are the trees, delicate [p. 340]
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