Excerpt from Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings
In an exceedingly interesting article on the early study of the Dutch in Japan, by Professor K. Mitsukuri, the author has occasion to refer to the uncle of one of the three famous Japanese scholars who translated into Japanese a Dutch book on anatomy. He says this uncle "Miyada was almost eccentric in his disposition. He held it to be a solemn duty to learn any art or accomplishment that might be going out of the world, and then describe it so fully that it might be preserved to posterity." The nephew was faithful to his uncle's instructions, and "though following medicine for his profession, he took it upon himself to learn 'hitoyogiri,' - a certain kind of music which was well-nigh forgotten, - and even went so far as to study a kind of dramatic acting."
Though not animated by Miyada's spirit when I set about the task of collecting the material embodied in this work, I feel now that the labor has not been altogether in vain, as it may result in preserving many details of the Japanese house, - some of them trivial, perhaps, - which in a few decades of years may be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.
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More than three hundred detailed illustrations by the author provide accurate information on types of houses, interiors of both ordinary and teahouse rooms, floor plans, roof detailing, methods of structure and construction, gardens, decorations, tools, furniture, and fittings.About the Author:
Edward S. Morse, (1838-1925) a zoology professor from Maine, helped introduce modern scientific methods and thinking to the study of zoology, biology, sociology and archaeology at Tokyo University. He was awarded the (Second Degree) Order of the Sacred Treasure and the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government.
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