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100 Years Ago: October 1920


This is the 69th installment in a series of reviews of National Geographic magazines to commemorate the centennial of their publication.



The first article in this month’s issue is entitled “Nepal: A Little-Known Kingdom” and was written by John Claude White, author of such National Geographic articles as “Lhasa, the World’s Strangest Capital”, “Castles in the Air”, and “Unknown Bhutan”.  It contains thirty-two black-and-white photographs taken by the author, of which a full twenty-six are full-page in size.  The article also contains a sketch map of the Indian subcontinent on page 249.

Sketch Map courtesy of Philip Riviere

Among the Himalayan Mountains, of which they owned a fair portion, including Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, was the Kingdom of Nepal.  Often heard of, it was one of the native Asian States of which least was known.  With the exception of the British Resident and a few European officials who lived in the Residency grounds at Kathmandu, the capital, no one was allowed to visit the country without special permit issued by the Durbar.  When the pass had been obtained, visitors were obliged to travel by one particular route and were not permitted to go beyond the Valley of Kathmandu, a tract of country about 15 miles wide by 20 miles long, surrounded by high mountains.  The road into Nepal for its entire length was purposely kept in a bad state of repair by the Durban and ran over quite unnecessarily difficult country, the idea being that the worse the road, the more difficult it would be for attacking troops to enter the country.  On one occasion, when coming up from the plains, Mr. White returned to Kathmandu by a fairly good road, turning off near Chitlong and entering the valley near Patan.  The Gurkha escort, which always accompanied Europeans on any journey in Nepal, had temporarily left the author.  Seeing the road, Mr. White rode in quite ease before the escort discovered he had left Chitlong.  The author found that there was that much good road, and believed that there was a good road all the way to the plains of India down the valley of Baghmutti, but no Europeans were allowed to travel on it.

The Nepalese were a prolific people of very great energy and activity.  The population was increasing so fast that outlets had to be found, and the trend of emigration was to follow the foothills along Bhutan and into Assam.  They made good settlers, though somewhat turbulent, bringing their manners, customs, and religion with them.  They did not intermarry with the people of the countries in which they settled.  The Nepalese were a fighting people, had an excellent army and organization, and were fond of show, both in military display and in their religious festivals.  The latter were very numerous, with women taking a prominent part in most of them.  Some of the semi-military pageants ended in the massacre of hundreds of buffalo and indescribable scenes of blood and dead animals.  Other processions were very picturesque, flowers, flags, and banners playing a prominent part.  The Nepalese women wore yards and yards of fine muslin plaited to form a huge fan-shaped bunch in the front, the back being quite tight.  When a lady of rank drove in her barouche, she completely filled the carriage with her voluminous skirt of bright hue.  Above the skirt a vivid little tight-fitting jacket, usually of velvet, was worn.  The hair was dressed in a peculiar knot in front, above the forehead, and fastened to one side by an enormous gold plaque with a jeweled center.  A heavy gold necklace and gold bangles completed her jewelry.  Every imaginable shade was used – purple, pale blue, turquoise, and deep red – and the effect was wonderful.  At the time of ceremonies, the streets were filled with processions of elephants in gorgeous trappings, horses and ponies, brilliant military uniforms, and the usual crowd of good-natured, pleasure-loving people.  The background of temples and natural surroundings made it a wonderful spectacle.

Mr. White spent a year in Nepal, where he was sent officially, and had seen the lovely valley in its many changing aspects at different seasons – pale green with growing rice, golden at harvest time, white with blossoms in spring, and brown and bare in the short winter months – but always beautiful.  His stay enabled him to become acquainted with the manners and customs of the people.  The journey into Nepal was not an easy one, and at the time of the author’s visit the railway only ran as far as Segowlie.  The sixteen-mile journey from there to Raxoul was made in a carriage borrowed from the planter whose house Mr. White stayed the prior night.  From there the difficulties began.  The journey to Hetowrah, through the Terai and outer hills, was accomplished on horseback or in a palanquin carried by bearers.  At first there was a track through the forest, but as soon as they reached the outer hills, the road was lost in the bed of a stream, up which the bearers picked their way with difficulty over and among great boulders.  At Hetowrah the Rapti River was reached, a pretty mountain stream.  They changed from horses and palanquins to sturdy little hill ponies and dandies, a sort of chair carried by hillmen.  From there onward the track passes through lovely scenery, and through the villages of Bichiakoh, Nimbuatar, and Bimphidi.  At Bimphidi there were some magnificent cotton trees, covered in the spring with large, brilliant red flowers. Next, the trail led over the Sisagarhi Pass to the prosperous villages of Marku, and Chitlong.  Their inhabitants took their products to Kathmandu on market day, a long tramp there and back of over forty miles.  The official road then went over the very rough track across the Chandragiri Pass and down the almost impassable road on the other side into the Nepal Valley.  The last portion was a long staircase of roughly placed blocks.  Mr. White was amazed at how the bearers and ponies were able to keep their balance.  From the Chandragiri Pass there was a beautiful view down into the valley, studded with towns and villages and surrounded on all sides by mountains.  From the foot of the pass an excellent carriage road into the town of Kathmandu ran through the valley.  It teemed with people, towns, palaces, temples, and shrines.  There were many miles of such good carriage roads within the valley. Most were constructed in Jung Bahadur’s time.  Two, and sometime four, horse carriages were used by the palace people.  There were more than 2,700 shrines in the valley.  Their buildings showed a diversity of form.

The inhabitants of Nepal were collectively known as “Paharias” or “Dwellers in the Hills”, and were divided into innumerable castes.  The Gurkhas were the dominant race.  There were twenty-four castes.  The first four were known as the high caste, 1. Brahmans, 2. Surmgasi, 3. Thakuri, and 4. Khas or Chisi.  The intermediate castes ran from 5 to 19, inclusive, and the lower castes from 20 to 24, inclusive.  The lower castes did not have dealings with the other castes.  They had to leave the road on the approach of a member of castes 1 to 19 and call out a warning of their approach.  They were not permitted to enter the courtyards of temples.  The Bantor, Danuar, and Drai tribes belonged to the plains, and no one knew how to classify them in respect to social precedence.  Recruiting for the British and Nepalese armies was carried on only from certain of those castes.  In addition to those, there were among the Newars, or conquered people, 41 castes and subcastes.  All trades were also subdivided into castes – masons, carpenters, potters, etc.  With such a medley of castes, the author imagined it almost impossible for an outsider to place all of those Hill people, who were far more strict in their caste rules than the Hindus of the plains.  While the Hill people profess to be Brahman, or Hindu, their religion was infused with some many of the older forms of Tantric worship and of Buddhism.  It would be correct to call them Brahmo-Buddhists.

With a large substratum of Tantric rites appearing in many of their forms and ceremonies, the same influence was also found in the carvings in the temples.  Some of those carvings, the author found gross and immoral.  To understand the architecture, one must remember that the workers derived their inspiration from a large number of sources and had adapted their ideas to their immediate surroundings with marvelous effect.  In the structural features of their architecture and its ornamentation, in their sacred utensils, arms and armor, in their household implements, vestments, jewelry, everything, there was a similarity and special form which ran through all those eastern Himalayan States.  Sir George Birdwood, an authority on the matter stated that the Chinese thought those people originally migrated from the west, while the Aryan races of Europe, Persia, and India felt they migrated from the east.  The commerce which crossed Asia from the Mediterranean to the Yellow River, in antiquity, brought influences from the Hamites, Greeks, and even Nestorians and that of Cathay.  Egyptian art, could be traced throughout Asia and possibly reached the remote Himalayas by way of China.  It influenced the molding of buildings, both of brick and stone, the regal residences and strongholds, and the houses and domestic art of those remote, shut-in States.  The arts resembled closely to those of southern India, that may be due that they both escaped the Mohammedan invasion.  They had retained unbroken to that day their arts as produced before the Mogul conquests of northern India.  Living amid lovely surroundings, they had an artistic temperament, and their religion, to them, was still a living one, the incidents of which they loved to depict magnificently.

The most striking buildings of Nepal’s comparatively modern capital, Kathmandu were those composing the durbar Palace, with its many quadrangles and pagoda-shaped roofs.  They were full of chambers and courts with small doors easily closed, which enabled the inhabitants to defend themselves in case of political disturbances.  Some of the windows were very fine and there were some striking bits of wood-carving.  The Royal Temple of the Goddess Taleju, the protectress of Nepal’s ruling family, was the finest in the Durbar group and was used exclusively by the royal family.  Bim Sens Tower, nearly 200 feet tall, stood out above the other buildings of the city.  The modern palaces, although containing valuable collections of various objects of art, were of very little interest externally, with no architectural features of note.  The old buildings were built of fine red brick with hair joints, leaving no mortar visible.  The ornamentation was generally of molded brick of the same red color, although sometimes a terra-cotta tone was used.  “Sal”, which turned almost black from weathering, was used for woodwork.  The roofs were of red corrugated tiles, set in mud, with elaborate, grotesque finials.  The combination of the weathered, red brickwork, and the dark wood used for windows and doorways produced a most picturesque effect, relieved here and there with brilliant coloring and the sparkle and glitter of the brass and copper repousse work with which most of the doorways were ornamented. 

Bhatgaon, one of the oldest Newar capitals, lied about seven miles southeast of Kathmandu.  With its numerous temples, shrines, and statues, all of the greatest architectural value, it was even more interesting than the capital.  Winding dirty streets, with wooden colonnades overhung by the balconies of old houses, led to the central square.  On all sides, buildings had been erected with the most picturesque irregularity.  The finest among them was the Durbar Hall, with its magnificent doorway of brick and embossed copper gilt.  Built in the reign of Bhupatindra Mall, that doorway was one of the finest pieces of work in Nepal and on it was depicted the whole symbolism of the Hindu and Buddhist religions.  Facing the doorway was a statue of Raja Bhepatindra Mall, an extremely well executed figure in bronze, seated on an ornate pedestal of stone on a square pillar about 20 feet in height, with the royal umbrella rising above the figure.  Close by was the Ujatpola Deval, or Temple of Five Hagis, which stood on five platforms up which a flight of steps led to the entrance.  That stairway was guarded by five enormous pairs of figures carved in stone.  The lowest pair were two giant wrestlers; above them were two elephants; above were two lions; next were two dragons; and finally, there were two deities.  Each pair represented a power an order of magnitude greater than the one below it.  In that square was also the Taumari Tol, dedicated to the Goddess Bhawani.  The shrine in front had two brass dragons, one on each side, decorated with great splashes of vermillion.  The brickwork was covered with brass plates deeply embossed.  On each side, on a lotus pillar, was a copper gilt lion holding a banner.  The building had quant moldings painted in the most vivid colors and lattice windows made of strips of gilt metal.  The whole presented a kaleidoscopic effect in the brilliant sunshine.

Patan was the old Newar capital, where Buddhism was the accepted religion of the country before the invasion of the Gurkhas.  Although the largest town in Nepal, it was a quiet, sleepy place, much of it falling into ruins, but still most picturesque.  It stood in the center of a beautiful valley, against a backdrop of green mountains and snowy peaks.  A network of narrow, twisting little streets were packed full of shrines, temples, and pagodas, many of them deserted and falling into ruins.  There were still exquisite bits of carving and wonderful doorways of all shapes and sizes.  Many of Patan’s buildings were decorated with sheets of embossed copper gilt and everywhere the shrines were guarded by pairs of fearsome animals of enormous size.  Carved stone pillars were surmounted by animals, birds, or fish modeled in metal.  Bells of all sizes were everywhere, and huge lotus thrones in bronze, held bronze Thunder Bolts, or Dorgis.  Kirtipur and Niakot were smaller cities, which, despite the evidence of decay, were full of beautiful and interesting shrines.  Pashpati was the holy center of Nepal.  Tens of thousands of pilgrims flocked to it during the few days, once a year, when the country was thrown open.  Its shrines and temples were clustered on the banks of the holy Baghmutti River.  There, the dying were brought to end their days.  The town was most picturesquely situated, the stream issued from a narrow, beautifully wooded gorge, and the golden roofs of the pagodas among the fresh greenery formed a lovely picture.  The scene was enlivened by the constant stream of brilliantly dressed men and women coming to perform their religious ablutions.  The Temple of Changu-Narain was situated on a spur of a mountain about eight miles east of Kathmandu and was reached by a winding path of stone steps.  The climb was part of the pilgrimage.  It was one of the finest temples in Nepal, a veritable treasure-house of relics.  Its courtyard was full of stone pillars and statues.  Exquisite carvings were richly colored and fashioned into every possible form- birds, beasts, fishes, and dragons.  Bells were everywhere, as were umbrellas, the emblem of royalty; and great brazen and stone beasts crouched on all sides.

The water garden of Balajee was a most fascinating spot.  It was located a mile or two outside Kathmandu, at the end of a long, shady avenue of trees.  It was frequented by the townspeople in the cool of the evening.  The fresh spring water was collected in a number of terraced pools, one above the other.  Along the supporting wall of the lowest pool was a row of about twenty dragon-head spouts, some enormous, others small, but all beautifully carved, from which clear water splashed into a tank beneath.  Balajee had its own religious significance.  In a tank near a temple was a carved stone figure of Narain with a hood of cobra heads just rising above the water.  Four stone post rising one from each corner showed evidence that they supported a canopy at one time.  Fish darted here and there in the clear water.  Narain was the creator Brahma, from Nara (water) and Ajana (place of motion).  The story went that he was poisoned by the sea and made thirsty. He stuck the snowy regions on the Himalayas with his trident.  Three streams flowed out forming a lake from which he drank.  Pilgrims fancied seeing the god lying in his bed of snakes.  The tradition was that if the ruling king visited the lake, his death would immediately follow.  The great stupa of Bodhnath, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the valley, was an example of another form of shrine.  The dome-shaped Chaitya rested on a semi-spherical mound surmounted by a square base of a spire capped by a golden umbrella.  For more than a thousand years great eyes had looked out to each of the four quarters of the globe from underneath the overhanging eaves.  Equally famous was Swayambunath, another temple of the same type.  It was richer and more frequented.  It was situated on a wooded hill approached by a steep flight of 500 steps closely surrounded by small shrines.  In front of the temple was the gigantic Dorgee, or Thunderbolt of Indra, resting on a carved stone pedestal.  Thousands of pilgrims from all countries flocked to this, a Holy of Holies to the Buddhists.

The art of the Nepalese, or, more appropriately the Newars, was worthy of special consideration.  The Newars brought art to its highest state of perfection.  Their influence had extended through the hills to Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet.  India and China had both influenced Nepalese art for many centuries.  Nepal excelled in metal-work and wood carving, followed closely in quality by Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet.  The buildings suggested an even earlier period, possibly that of Egypt.  All of those countries followed the same method in their metal-work.  For beaten-works, the metal employed was first hammered to the required thickness, then shaped on a mold made of lac.  It was then a thin layer of wet clay was rubbed on.  The pattern desired was drawn on the clay which was then scratched and finally hammered into the metal.  Metals worked in that fashion included copper, brass, silver, and gold.  If gilding was required, an amalgam of gold and quicksilver was placed on the baser metal.  The Quicksilver was burned off and the deposit of gold was burnished with an agate.  The Nepalese combinations of copper or brass with silver were very fine, the salient parts in the silver often being picked out with gold.  In the work of casting, a model was made of wax.  The model was thickly coated with a mixture of clay, cow dung, and charcoal.  When the first coat was dry, a second coat of the same substance, mixed with chopped straw, was applied.  The wax was melted out and when the mold was dry the molten metal was run in.  Those methods were used for building ornamentations, altar utensils, and articles for domestic use.  Some excellent weapons, especially the kukri, a knife worn universally by the Nepalese, were made, and the better specimens were inlaid with gold.  The also made koras, or sacrificial knives.

Nepalese wood-carving was extraordinarily beautiful and ornate.  Every scrap of wood was carved in some manner.  The struts upholding the eaves of shrines represented satyrs and dragons.  Windows and doors were examples of the most elaborate and minute workmanship of every conceivable design.  The verandas and overhanging balconies were highly ornamented and the work on some of the pillars was bold and striking.  In weaving, the natives were deficient, the only cloth made being coarse cotton.  In neighboring Sikkim, the metal-work was excellent and the wood-carving was good, but not comparable to that of Nepal.  The Bhutan metal-work was excellent, especially the wrought iron swords.  They were hammered out after each successive heating in charcoal, eventually becoming a mild steel.  Those weapons were sheathed in artistic silver and gold scabbards.  Some of the dagger sheaths were made of worked and pierced silver, with dragon patterns running through the open-work.  The Bhutanese also made excellent cloths, both of cotton and silk.  Many were of exceptional quality and artistic design.  Their wood-carving was on a par with that of Sikkim.  The author described a teapot he had acquired as an excellent piece of work from Lhasa.  The feudal system, which had prevailed among those hills for many years, was in a measure responsible for much of the artistic work of the natives, for it enabled a man to put his whole energy into his work.  Freed of concern for food and shelter, it was to his advantage to produce the most artistic works possible.  There was no pressure, time was of no concern.  All this tended to the creation of objects in which the artist can put his individuality.

The early history of Nepal was obscure and the outer world had but few relations with it prior to 1767.  In that year the Gurkhas, a fighting race in northern India, invaded the valley and the Newar Rajah of Nepal appealed to the British for assistance.  The request was granted and Captain Kirkwood set out with a small military force.  Unfortunately, it was the rainy season.  The Captain and his men fell ill and were forced to return to base.  The Newar dynasty, unable to withstand the warlike Gurkhas, was extinguished.  The Gurkhas established themselves as the ruling people.  In 1792, they plundered the temple of Digarchi in Tibet.  The Chinese sent an army to punish them to great effect.  The Nepalese were obliged to conclude a treaty with the Chinese general.  To commemorate the victory a pillar was erected in Lhasa, where it still stood in 1920.  In 1814, after much provocation on the part of the Nepalese, who laid claim to land in the plains of India, war was declared on them by the East India Company.  At its conclusion, in 1815, the treaty of Segowlie was signed and Brian Hodgson was appointed to be the first Resident at the Nepalese Court.  From that time onward, as it doubtlessly was before, the history of Nepal was one long chronical of bloodshed and treachery.  The different factions each desired power and were ruthless in the efforts to acquire it.  The post of Minister to the Maharajah was eagerly sought, the Maharajahs being, even in 1920, mere puppets in their ministers’ hands.  Most of them died suspiciously young and before they could take the reins of government into their own hands.

Internal intrigues and persistent hostility on the part of the Gurkhas toward the British continued until 1846, when Jung Bahadur became Prime Minister, a post he retained till his death in 1877.  During his tenure Nepal enjoyed relative peace.  He visited England in 1850 ushering in more friendly relations.  In 1854 the Nepalese again invaded Tibet.  Shortly after a treaty was concluded by which Tibet agreed to pay Nepal $33,000 per year.  Hostilities continued in a minor degree until 1883.  At the time of the Indian Mutiny, in 1857, the Nepalese rendered great assistance to the British Government.  As a reward the whole territory in the Terai, forfeit in the war of 1814, was restored to them.  In 1876 the Prince of Wales, afterward King Edward VII, visited the Nepal Terai on a shooting expedition.  He was entertained Jung Bahadur’s brother, General Dhir Shanshere Rana Bahadur.  After Jung Bahadur’s death there were the usual successional intrigues, some peaceful and some bloody, until 1901 when General Chunder Shumsheer Jung Rana Bahadur was appointed Prime Minister.  He visited India twice and England once.  He was made Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India in 1905.  In 1904 the Nepal Durban received the thanks of the Government of India for the friendly attitude adopted during the British Mission to Lhasa.  The King Emperor visited the Nepal Terai on a shooting expedition in 1912, after the Delhi Durbar, and had excellent shooting.  Sumptuous camps were prepared and roads were made in all directions through the jungle.

Nepal maintained a well-drilled and efficient army of about 32,000 infantry and 2,500 artillery, with about 100 serviceable and 150 unserviceable guns.  The Maharajah was not permitted to interact with Europeans, and when the Resident or any official interviewed him it was always in the presence of some Nepalese official.  The Kingdom of Nepal was to be found between latitude 27 deg. 30 min. and 30 deg. North and longitude 80 deg. And 88 deg. East.  In the south it ran for some distance into the plains of India, along the Terai, or flat ground, at the foot of the hills.  Its area embraces about 54,000 square miles. As a consequence of Nepal’s isolation, the internal administration had remained entirely unaffected by European influences or ideas.  In the Valley of Kathmandu, called Nepal by the natives, and covering about 300 square miles, were situated the modern capital of Kathmandu and the old, more picturesque capitals of Patan and Bhatgaon.  At some point in the remote past that valley was a lake.  The erosion of the vast amount of water eventually cut an outlet through the mountains to the south.  Gradually there was left bare the rich alluvial deposit drained by three rivers – the Baghmutti, Vishnumatti, and Manchera.  They had cut deep channels, through which they made their way until converging in a narrow gorge, they finally found their outlet to the plains of India as the Baghmutti.  That old lake bed formed an expanse of the most fertile soil, industriously cultivated from end to end, on which was grown a succession of many and varied crops throughout the year.  Old legends said that the valley was once filled with water, and attributed its drying up to the power of one Manju Sri, who smote the mountain with his sword, thus making the outlet by which the lake was drained.  The population of the valley was about 500,000, of which the town of Kathmandu contained 30,000.


The second article this month is entitled “Human Emotion Recorded by Photography” and was written by Ralph A. Graves.  It is a brief, one-page introduction to the “SIXTEEN DUOTONE ENGRAVINGS” documented twice on the cover.  Those photo-engravings, formerly known as photogravures, are full-page images appearing on pages numbered I through XVI in Roman numerals representing pages 285 to 300 in the issue.

Those studies in expression the camera had been employed to record the facial play and byplay of those who felt free to express their emotions and not withhold them from the world. Here the lens of the photographer had caught and preserved the fleeting joyous thought, the moment of tranquil reverie, the sorrow without shame, the eternity of oppressive suspense, the exuberant mirth of the carefree, the rollicking gayety of childhood, and the eager earnestness of youth.  All those moods and fancies the faces of normal men, women, and children reflected with unfailing faithfulness.  Here was, recorded in pictures, the “geography of the human heart” – its cares, its longings, its foibles, and its aspirations.

Mr. Graves next briefly discussed almost every engraving, which he referred to as Plates.  He read much into the pensive smile of an immigrant mother (Plate I), showing both the pain of the past and the promise of the future.  The laughter of children was a universal language as shown in photos from Sweden (Plate II) and America (Plate VI).  A mother’s love was on display in the faces of women waiting to see hospitalized loved ones (Plate III) and the woman grieving the loss of her son in battle (Plate IV).  An elderly couple’s faces showed “sweet content” (Plate V).  The even temperament of a farmer was on display (Plate VII).  Smiling with mouth and eyes were several “men in khaki” (Plate X).  People waiting for word from a mining disaster displayed that “in the shadow of a great affliction the soul sits dumb” (Plate XI).  Two Park Rangers frolicking in the snow demonstrated that “health is the vital principle of bliss” (Plate XII).  The two “studies in color”, as described by the author, were of two black men smiling broadly but for different reasons; the first was of a soldier whose gas mask had saved his life (Plate IX), while the other was of a man enjoying a watermelon (Plate XIII).  Geniality in facial expressions were on display in France (Plate XIV) and America (Plate XV).  As three children examined a globe, “the world is all before them” (Plate XVI).  [Plate VIII was not discussed but showed the curiosity in the eyes of several New York paperboys as a fire engine roared by.]


The third article in this issue is entitled “Tahiti: A Playground of Nature” and was written by Paul Gooding.  It contains sixteen black-and-white photographs, a full fifteen of which are full-page in size.  The article also contains a sketch map of the Pacific Ocean showing the location of Tahiti on page 303.

Sketch Map courtesy of Philip Riviere

Tahiti was far from the feverish activities of modern industrial life.  It was more than 1,000 miles below the equator, at 150 degrees west longitude.  It was 3,000 miles from Australia, 3,600 miles from San Francisco, 4,500 miles from the Panama Canal, and 6,000 miles from Asia.  The distance to New York by the old Suez Canal route, was all those distances combined, but through the Panama Canal that distance was reduced to 6,500 miles, a savings of 10,000 miles.  It was discovered in 1767 by Wallis, who name it King George the Third Island.  Early explorers referred to it as “Otaheite”.  It was famed as an isolated jewel remarkable in contour, rich in verdure, blessed with a pleasant healthful climate, and inhabited by friendly people of handsome physique.  The impressions of Wallis, Cook, and their contemporaries were the same as those of visitors in 1920.  Tahiti was an extraordinary work of creation – a steepled gem of wonderous green within a teeming coral reef.  There the eye was delighted by leafy luxuriance stretching from palm-fringed beach to loftiest mountain crest; by the brilliant colors of land and sea; and by the high physical standards of the natives, both men and women.  The soothing sound of water – the surf, the rain, and the streams – composed and renewed the tired or distressed mind; that and the knowledge that the madly competitive centers were far away.  Overshadowing all were the mountains.  In every colossal pile there was distinctiveness.  Here a mighty slab rose high above a valley; there a peak with a triangle summit shot thousands of feet upward; beyond, lofty columns hundreds of feet in thickness stood in solitary grandeur; another turn and a shaft cut the sky with an edge like an enormous knife – an edge to which tree shrub, fern, and vine clung tenaciously.  Along all its shores one saw smiling, carefree faces with eyes expressing contentment.  Their hands were outstretched in welcome.  Everywhere one heard musical voices carrying notes of kindness and sympathy.  Tahiti was not the abode of savages.  It still had primitive life, but of barbarism it had none.  Their life and property were safe; their children had compulsory education; and the church, the religious press, and contact with Caucasians had broadened the intellect of the adults.

The author first saw the Kingdom of Pomare at dawn with the sun behind the mountains.  His steamer laid anchor in clear and placid waters.  The surf lashed against coral barriers, and mountains rose to his left and right.  On the coral-strewn shores palm trees flapped a lazy welcome.  In the distance rose the green spires of La Diademe.  Between them and the jutting reef was the capital and metropolis of Tahiti and its far-flung dependencies, Papeete.  As they anchored inside the reef, the sun was rising over the lofty mountains.  Shafts of gold shot over the island.  Suddenly sunbeams bathed mountain summit and valley floor.  Shadows flitted about before, but now Mr. Gooding could see more clearly the features of the heights and shore, and the secluded town beneath leafy sunshades.  Straight ahead was the long, high ridge of Aorai, culminating 7,000 feet above the tides.  It stood at the head of the Fautaua Valley, and overlooked La Diademe and lesser heights.  It guarded a difficult entrance to the innermost recesses of the island.  To the right rose La Diademe of the French, Maiauo of the Tahitians.  The loftiest of its jutting spurs towered 4,000 feet above the sea and seemed to be covered to its tip with vegetation.  Between Aorai and the ridges to the right was a mighty gap cut by the Fautaua River.  It spilled itself, six miles from the sea, in a cascade more than 600 feet high.  Somewhere beyond Aorai, the still loftier Orohena lifted its steepled head.  Its steep walls had prevented it being climbed.  The harbor swarmed with marine life of great variety.  The waters mirrored a fringe of algaroba trees.  Behind them were sequestered avenues of tamarind, mango, and breadfruit.  From those rose an occasional red tile roof, church spires, white flagstaffs, and tall coconut palm.  Sloping gradually away from the town were hills scarred here and there by barren red and gray clay.  They overlooked the Fautaua and Punarua valleys.  They were cut by innumerable canyons and gullies all over their surface.

As the steamer drew near the shore many smaller craft lay at anchor or moved about the lake-like harbor.  The included outrigger canoes, broad-beamed fruit-boats, and noisy gasoline schooners.  Hundreds of Tahitians scattered groups of Americans and Europeans waited on the copra-scented dock to greet the author.  There were as many colors and shades of complexion as there were of dress.  He found the dark-haired women with flowered wreaths and brilliant dark eyes quite beautiful.  Bougainville wrote that the daughters of Otaheiti, “The boats were now crowded with women, whose beauty of face was equal to that of the ladies of Europe, and the symmetry of their forms much superior.”  The native men at the dock were not so picturesque, collectively, as their brothers whom Mr. Gooding afterwards saw in the country.  They felt sufficiently clad when wearing overalls and a light undershirt.  Only a few wore the brightly colored kilts, the garment worn by Polynesian men living outside Papeete.  The author remained in Tahiti for several weeks so he rented a house along with a Frenchman.  The house was surrounded by a mock coffee hedge.  Plant-life abounded, bananas, passion fruit, pineapples, tree melons, and other fruits, along with roses and cannas.  Breadfruit and coconut palms hung heavily with food.  The neighbors were friendly and the children were shy.  In the adjoining yard, a native woman played “Swanee River” and other songs on an accordion.  Nearby, a busy phonograph reminded Mr. Gooding of home.

On his first night, the author saw an exhibition of native dancing.  A man and a woman played “music” on kerosene cans while a tall girl stood between them, directing and assisting.  Eleven other women danced to the beat.  On a platform at the back of the hall, a four-piece band played frenzied music.  The supple bodies of the dancers were automatons of vibration.  The next moment they were a mass of distorted limbs.  They were clad chiefly in white with a sash around the waist, with a circle of blossoms on their heads.  Amid it all the leader twisted and whirled, directing with short, loud cries as she urged or rebuked.  On the whole, the dance was far from graceful.  The writhings were violent, and at times the movement of the hips attained the rapid tempo of the music.  On his first morning in Papeete he found that everyone rose early except for the tourists.  The locals believed in making the most of the cool hours of the dawn.  The market opened at 5:30. And the shops removed their shutters thirty minutes later.  The laborers began work at the same hour.  It was a quiet bustle; the only noise was the rattling of lantern-lighted carts as they sped under the whip.  At 11 o’clock Papeete paused to take a siesta of an hour or two.  During that time all the businesses were closed except for the Chinese shops which remained open until bedtime.  The most animated moment of the town’s daily life began shortly after its 5,000 inhabitants awakened.  The site of that activity was the market square.  Sunday was the chief market day of the week.  On the previous day and night, boatloads of plantains and oranges were laid outside the market building in preparation for the rush.  At dawn strings of fishes and wagons filled with produce were hurried to the victualers’ stands.  The scene was enlivened; the crowd was friendly and gay.  Within thirty minutes the fish benches were stripped, and the butchers, bakers, and vegetable men had parted with more than half of their stock.  In an hour the market was almost deserted.

The market square was an excellent place to study Tahitian dress.  There was everything, from kilts to creased trousers, flashy hose, and flaring waistcoats.  The kilt was so well liked in the country that the men who spend their day in European grab, donned their prized cloth of red, blue, or yellow as soon as they rejoined their families.  Often it and a shirt were worn together.  The most enjoyable way to see Tahiti was to journey entirely around it, usually by carriage or automobile, except at the peninsula’s end where a canoe was required.  The author obtained a guide, Tairua, and walked practically all of the 120 miles.  They began the journey in the morning with the day’s goal of reaching the home of the guide’s father-in-law in the Papara district.  Tairua wore a European suit and carried on a stick slung across his shoulder a bundle of clothing wrapped in a kilt.  As they left Papeete, the guide bought a harmonica, for all Tahitians loved music.  Their favorite instruments were the accordion, the harmonica, and the jews’-harp.  Mr. Gooding saw the first in all parts of the island.  The way laid between coconut groves and banana fields; beside coral-littered beaches; and in the shade of flowering wild hibiscus.  Hundreds of land crabs scurried to the holes as the men approached.  Under their feet tiny ants foraged.  Both young and old locals saluted them with the national “Iorana”, and the curious started at them with questioning eyes.  As they walked, there was much to see – the curling surf thundering on the reef; the view of the toothed island of Moorea; the flowers and trees including the pandanus, the medicinal miro, or the dye-producing eufa.  Everywhere the breadfruit shared yard and roadside with the prolific mango; over wave-washed shores and high on breezy hills leaned the nut-borne palm; and afar, on mountain slope branched the glossy fei.  After sundown, the author enjoyed one of the greatest pleasures of the topics – travelling by moonlight.

They finally reached the home of Matariro.  Both he and his wife greeted Tairua with kisses.  The family sat out on the veranda while the long-absent son told of his wanderings in alien lands.  Mr. Gooding was given the choice of two beds and informed that he could retire when he wished.  His bed was a comfortable, ample couch.  Matariro’s home was a one-story, unpainted wooden structure with a balustraded porch.  The floor and walls were bare and the roof was made of galvanized iron sheeting.  Until the French occupied Tahiti its people were content to live in bamboo houses with thatched roofs.  These huts were still prevalent outside of Papeete even in the author’s time.  All-board houses were becoming more popular, as were hybrid houses of bamboo and wood.  Matariro’s house was a few kilometers from the village of Papara.  Like all other Tahitian villages, it had only one street, and that was part of the island’s main highway.  On each side of the road there was an irregular row of houses, the best belonging to Tati Salmon, the district chief.  Practically every village center had a group of two or three Chinese stores.  Wherever they were, the village square would be.  In the harvest season, drying vanilla beans made the place fragrant.  There the natives traded their coconuts for goods from New Zealand and travelers could enjoy coffee or tea, and doughnuts and rolls.

When Mr. Gooding was called to breakfast at Matariro’s, he greeted a half dozen people squatting before a banana leaf on the floor of the back veranda.  He was given a small table.  Since he didn’t care for coffee, he was given some orange tea and coconut milk, served in bowls.  His hosts were fond of coffee and had it for breakfast with unbuttered bread.  The islanders were taught to eat bread by the Chinese, so wherever a baker’s cart could go, coffee and rolls formed the morning refreshment.  At other meals fei, yams, and taro replaced the loaf.  As the author ate breakfast, he heard a frightful moaning coming from inside the house. After fifteen minutes of it he went to investigate.  He found his guide comforting an old woman.  Later he found out the it was Tairua’s grandmother and she was welcoming him home.  That morning a pig was killed in honor of Tairua and was served for dinner.  To that island the porker was what potatoes were to Ireland.  Almost everywhere along the coast, the author heard the squeal of that indispensable animal.  The hog was served with yam, plantains, coconut sauce, and milk.  The Tahitians ate with their fingers, but the author was supplied with a knife and fork.  The natives had an aversion for artificial aids in eating, and believed that nothing surpassed their digits as food conveyors.  After supper, the author and his guide went up the road to hear the local singing society give its weekly rehearsal.  The practice was held in a long, narrow building with open sides and ends, and a thatched roof.  Its members squatted on the floor, women in front.  Among their selections were one about Adam and Eve and another about the miraculous catch of fishes on the Sea of Galilee.  They sang with vim and their unison was excellent.  The rapid changes, blending, and sustained effort were amazing.

One his second day in Papara, Mr. Gooding went on a hunt for plantains in the adjacent mountains.  That particular species of plantains was known as “fei”, and was the island’s most valuable article of food.  It grew in the mountains and was available at all times of the year.  It closely resembled the banana, but its leaves were darker.  The fruit was from an inch and a half to two inches in diameter and was borne uprightly on the stalk in bunches from 100 to 150 plantains.  When ripe, they were red or yellow.  There were many varieties.  The fruit was boiled or baked, and after it was cooked it was customary to beat it with a stick to loosen its skin and improve its quality.  The fei grew far up mountain slopes, where it could be seen miles away.  The woodsman had to climb almost impassable steeps and then down slippery paths weighted down with burdens of 100 to 150 pounds.  The sticks from which they were slung had cause toughened lumps to form on the shoulders.  The following day being Sunday, the author attended services with his host at the Protestant church.  They reached the church a half hour too early, but were among the last to arrive.  When the people filed into church, the men and the women sat in different pews.  The services were opened with singing.  High aloft in the rear of the building a choir of forty or fifty boys and girls poured out a wonderful flow of melody.  In the first 25 minutes there were five songs.  The pastor was industrious; he preached for thirty minutes nonstop.  After the service, the congregation gathered around a bamboo clump and in the Chinese store and its lunchroom.  Nearly all the men and many women lit cigarettes.  Mr. Gooding saw cigarettes passed from hand to hand, like community property, thus affording pleasure to several persons before it became a stub.

Monday morning, the author bade farewell to Matariro.  At the plantation Atimaono, 25 miles from Papeete, they paused to see cane fields, a sugar mill, and 40,000 coconut trees.  Beyond the plantation an enchanting perspective unfolded before them.  In the distance rose the ranges of the peninsula, and they passed green hills, pretty bays, and many rivers and creeks flowing between masses of vegetation spreading over swampy lowlands.  High over native chestnut trees towered with the flowering pohue (convolvulus).  Along the highway an occasional gigantic fern threw out fronds rivaling those of the tree-fern; at their roots feathery swords of lesser reach grew luxuriantly.  All around them leaf, flower, and trailing vine covered the earth so completely that only the road showed a barren spot.  Vegetation attained its rankest growth on the shores of Port Phaeton.  There the wild hibiscus hung so thickly over the water’s edge that, at a distance, only a solid bank of foliage was visible.  In that tangle the chestnut and the giant hotu (Barringtonia) cast their shade.  Bunch ferns and other plants impinged upon the sinuous thoroughfare.  The productiveness of the land was matched by the fecundity of the sea.  Oysters covered the rocks of the tidal flats, slugs profusely strewed the shallows, and fish playfully leapt from the tidal lakes.

The Istmus of Taravao, overlooking Port Phaeton, was the parting of the ways for the circumambient traveler.  There, one road swung around to Maora, another followed the coast to Tautira, and a third led to Hitiaa and Papenoo.  They took the road to Maora, and that night arrived at the home of one of Tairua’s cousins, at Vaieri, on the southern side of the peninsula.  She was a doctor and with her family lived in the neatest little bamboo or “birdcage” house in the village.  It was a single room, twenty feet by twelve feet, roofed with pandanus.  The mother spent the evening talking to Tairua and weaving a reed hat.  When Mr. Godding retired for the night, he was given the only bed she had, and so he could have clean linens, the hostess and her daughter borrowed some from a neighbor.  Tairua was provided a mattress on the floor and the family slept near him on a floor mat.  In the morning Mr. Gooding had breakfast with Tairua and his grandmother’s brother.  After breakfast they continued on to Maora, where they intended to take a canoe the following day to round the coast of Pari.  When they sought lodging for the night, they were directed to the villa of Monsieur Toa.  There they were impressed by a supper of chicken, with coconut gravy, beef, fei, rolls, and coffee.  As the author sat on Toa’s veranda after the meal, he heard barbarous yells across the road.  A group of boys and girls from six to ten years old were dancing when a father of one or more of them burst upon the scene with shouts of disapproval and blows to the heads.  When the author asked about the incident, he was informed that children were not allowed to dance until they were eighteen or married.  Mr. Gooding had an uneasy night’s sleep due to a cluster of wasps and two ferocious-looking spiders that shared the room.  He was informed that the wasps were there because they were cold and the spiders were afraid of people.  In spite of those assurances, he found it difficult to sleep.

The author was eager to go round the inhospitable shores of Pari, and at Maora he arranged with Paorai, a native, to transport him in an outrigger canoe to Tautira, on the northern side.  He was warned that, if bad weather occurred, they may have to turn back and return to Maora.  At 8 o’clock the next morning they embarked in a 15-foot canoe.  The day was dulled by clouds but the scenery was magnificent.  All the way mountains approached close to the water and rose to a height of several thousand feet.  Every foot of their length was covered with dense vegetation, from which innumerable plantains thrust their long leaves and over which the pohue spread its ornate canopy.  On the sharp summits, slender rows of thickly clustered trees stood out so clearly defined as to form a remarkable hedge.  Nowhere in all that panorama was there a sterile spot discernable, except the scar of an avalanche.  Near Pari the sea became rougher, especially at the passes, where it rolled in with full force.  Off Mitireu they ran into big billows.  Ahead the outlook was still stormier.  Their position became constantly more perilous.  Paorai was a good pilot.  Now and then it seemed the canoe would capsize, but the outrigger saved it.  At last, the growing fury of the sea led Paorai to abandon further progress when almost within sight of the cliffs.  At that moment they faced one of the wildest spectacles the author had ever seen.  Huge billows rolled incessantly inland.  Along the shore the lashing surf flung itself high against the barren rocks and, falling back, was thrown upon the impenetrable barrier again.  Ahead, the dark horizon was misty with spray.  On their return trip to Maora, Mr. Gooding had scarcely landed when, treading a beach path, he met a lad wearing only a shirt.  To his amusement, the boy ran away screaming, think the author was a bogey.  After that, in less frequented places, he would see youths and maidens race madly through banana and coconut groves with shirt tails flying.

With the intention of making another attempt at conquering Pari, they went to Tautira, where Stevenson lived for a few weeks, and thence down the coast by canoe and footpath; but after they had almost reached their lonely destination, they were baffled again by billow and precipice.  From Tautira they retraced their steps to the isthmus on their way to Hitiaa.  They reached the village late in the afternoon, wet to the skin by a heavy rain.  The most inviting-looking house belonged to the district chief, where they were told “all the white men stop.”  At their knock the door was opened by the chief himself, and he promptly assured them of supper and a nights lodging.  He was barefoot and wore only a pair of overalls and an undershirt.  He was accustomed to society, for in one room were three beds and in another was a long dining table, above which hung a portrait of a former French President.  After changing their clothes, they sat on the back veranda and chatted with their host.  He was young but lacked ambition.  He confided in them that he had no desire to hold the scepter over his 450 subjects.  He had a good reason for his unwillingness – his salary was only $15.  That might have been able to support his needs, but it was his custom to furnish good cheer to all visitors without charge.  Instead of his office yielding a profit, it was a constant source of expense to him.  At a settlement beyond Hitiaa, Tairua met some of his relatives who invited them to remain for dinner.  They accepted and thus brought death upon another pig.  The house where they ate was a wreck.  The roof was full of gaping holes and the walls were equally ventilated.  Around the roast nine persons squatted, and with fingers in lieu of cutlery the savory centerpiece was soon reduced to a heap of bones.  Here, striking examples of Tahitian temperament were furnished by two boys.  One, a pugnacious six-year-old, became enraged when his mother took a cigarette from his mouth and reprimanded him.  In his wrath he struck her, but, fortunately for him, she was not in an angry mood.  The other lad, who was slightly younger, worked himself into still greater fury.  He became anger when his mother’s face was blackened in fun by the French husband of a native girl.  He stomped on his hat and went after the man.  He was held back by his parent who gave him a beating.  He continued to cry incessantly and to play abstractly with his toes.

The final stage of the author’s tour was in Papenoo, Tairua’s fatherland.  It was a rock-forged coast.  Its shores were deeply covered with cobblestones, and dark, unyielding stone walls sullenly receiving the impact of a mighty expanse of ocean unchallenged by projecting reefs.  The home he stayed was a big bamboo building situated beside a stream, like the majority of Tahitian country homes.  He was welcomed at the threshold by Tairua’s mother, a tall, stern-featured native, who was smoking a cigarette and wearing a bandage to ease an aching tooth.  Shortly after their arrival they sat down to supper on a floor overlaid with hibiscus leaves.  Following that meal, they sat conversing until 9 o’clock.  At that hour Tairua’s uncle offered a prayer, a signal for bed as well as an address to his creator.  There were two beds, and the author was given the better one.  The other was occupied by the married son and his wife, and the remaining sleepers laid on the mat-covered floor.  In the morning everybody got up early.   Mr. Gooding was surprised that the men helped the women with breakfast chores.  They shredded coconuts, pounded coffee, and carried wood and water.  That morning the author saw how the rural Tahitian worked out his taxes.  Those workers, who were allowed sixty cents a day, calmly sat in the road and placed cobblestones with the deliberation of chess players.  Trust the Tahitian to take life easy.  He would never become a nervous wreck from overwork.


The fourth and final article in this month’s issue is entitled “The Making of a Japanese Newspaper” and was written by Dr. Thomas E. Green.  The article contains five black-and-white photographs, all of which are full-page in size.

The making of newspapers was an art that, save in its most primitive form, belonged to modern – indeed, to comparatively recent – civilization.  That Japan should, in the very few years since her modern metamorphosis, had so speedily caught up with the van of periodical publication was less wonderful when one remembered that the Orient was the birthplace of the “art preservative”, and that the Chinese possessed the oldest newspaper in the world.  There had been similar newspapers from remote antiquity in Japan; small sheets roughly struck off from wooden blocks detailing some great political fact, or describing some crime or some general interest event.  The first attempt at a modern journal in Japan was in 1864, when the Kuaigai Shimbun was undertaken by Joseph Hess, a picturesque character, who in 1850 was cast away in the wrecking of a junk, rescued and carried to America.  There he lived for a number of years learning western ideas and methods, and, when Japan was opened after the visit of Commodore Perry, returned to his native land as an interpreter.  The first modern newspaper monthly worthy of the name was founded by John Black, an Englishman, one of the first foreign residents of Yokohama.  That was in 1872.  Since then Japanese journalism had grown with wonderful rapidity, both in volume and in character.  There were some eight hundred newspapers and magazines published in the empire, of which more than two hundred were in Tokyo.

Of the newspapers, there were the Kuampo, which was the official gazette, containing government announcements; the Kokumin, much quoted in press dispatches from Tokyo, as giving the government opinion of things international; and the Nichi Nichi, which expressed popular sentiment of the better sort.  Of magazines there were scores of every sort and kind – literacy, artistic, legal, medical, scientific – technical on all lines of modern accomplishment and endeavor.  The Jiji-Shimpo corresponded to our words “The Times”.  Jiji meant “daily events” and Shimpo was the word for journal, or merely “paper”.  The Jiji-Shimpo was a monument to the memory of its founder, a reincarnation of his spirit and influence.  It was founded 38 years prior [to 1920] by the late Fukuzawa Yukichi, who was often called the Japanese Gladstone.  Born in 1835 a Samurai – that is, one of the military gentries, for in Japan every gentleman was a soldier and every soldier a gentleman – he was left a young boy, orphaned and poor.  Despite the fanatical hatred of all things foreign, he undertook the study of English and made such progress that when the first envoy was sent abroad, he was the interpreter and secretary.  On his return he detached himself from all connection with official life and devoted himself to the herculean task of Americanizing Japan, for to him America was always the ideal among the nations.  Dropping his prerogative as a Samurai, Fukuzawa became a commoner and the preacher and teacher of a Jeffersonian type of democracy.  He introduced into Japan public speaking and lecturing, for which many of his most progressive contemporaries declared the Japanese language unfit.  To make it better suited, he coined new words and phrases to express modern ideas.  He translated western books and wrote treatises upon social and intellectual reform.  His works comprised one hundred and five volumes, of which more than ten million copies had been issued.  This one man was the intellectual father of more than half the men who were directing the affairs and shaping the destiny of the island empire of the Orient.  Eventually his work crystalized in two things: the Jiji-Shimpo and the Keio Gijuku, an institution with a student body of more than two thousand.  Its modernity was indicated by the fact that it vanquished the University of Wisconsin at baseball.  From the time of the newspaper’s establishment, the Jiji-Shimpo had an unwritten rule that the men who composed the editorial staff and employees be graduates of the university.

The staff consisted of an editor-in-chief, who was the general and responsible manager of the paper.  Under him were five assistants, who were at the head of as many principal departments.  Politics was handled by ten men thoroughly competent to discuss questions of state.  The policy of the paper was independent.  It was partisan only in that it was liberal, devoted to progress, and opposed to any retrograde policy in Japanese civilization.  At the time of the article, it supported the government as it was organized, and when it took occasion to differ, it did so with dignified and logical criticism, and not with the hysterical effusions that appeared in the “yellow” journals that had developed in Japan as elsewhere.  Because of that scholarly and dignified character, Jiji-Shimpo wielded a great influence and its voice was potent in shaping and controlling public opinion.  The paper emphasized its commercial department and a staff of trained men looked after that part of the news.  A foreign department of three editors cared for the cable and telegraph dispatches and kept in close and intelligent touch with international affairs.  Domestic new was gathered by correspondents in every city and important town of the empire, sifted, and arranged by two editors.  Twenty men composed the city staff and, like the American press, covered the local news of Tokyo, a city of more than two million people.  A literary editor and two assistants prepared every Thursday a four-page supplement, covering the literary life and product not only of Japan, but of the world.  An art department had four special writers; there were two staff photographers and a caricaturist whose work was original and attractive.  An Osaka department, made up of five men and women journalists, looked after a special edition printed each day and localized for that city of a million people.  In addition, the paper issued a juvenile magazine called Shonew, with a circulation of seventy-five thousand, designed for the children of Japan.  The Jiji had a circulation of about one hundred and ten thousand.

The Jiji was an eight-page paper, with generally a two-page insert, slightly smaller in format than American papers.  In common with all Oriental languages, Japanese was written and printed right to left, and the title, therefore, was in the upper right-hand corner of what would be for Americans the eighth page.  The lines of print were vertical and read from top to bottom and from right to left.  Each article was in a small square surrounded by a border.  Typesetting was a tedious and laborious piece of the business, though the many hands employed made it rapid enough to meet the need.  Japanese was printed in two sets of characters – the borrowed Chinese, which were ideographic, each representing a word or group of words; and side by side with those characters, in their vertical line, ran the translation or explanation in the indigenous grass characters, a sort of phonetic or stenographic script easily read and understood by the common and uneducated people.  When an article or editorial was ready in manuscript, it was sent first to the ideographic composing-room, where it was divided into “takes” and given to Chinese compositors.  The room was filled with closely set racks, containing the thousands of varieties of ideographic type.  Each compositor went from rack to rack looking for the character required.  To remember the character for which he was searching, he sang it over and over until it was found.  When the article was finished, it was placed in a sort of galley, tied together and sent to the real compositors, who untied it and proceeded with a pair of tweezers to place the small grass type beside the ideographic characters.  That work required an accurate and exact knowledge of orthography and language, and also, general information in regard to the subjects discussed, that the multi-meaning characters may be interpreted.  The type thus completed was proved, the proof carefully read and corrected and taken then to the imposing stones where it went into the makeup of the paper.  All typesetting was of necessity hand work, as the peculiar character of the language precluded the use of a linotype.  Stereotyping and presswork were on the lines of Western presses down to the folding and counting.

The day’s work was similar to those of America.  The editorial department began activities about eleven in the morning and its work was completed by five in the afternoon.  The typesetters were at work by eight.  The business offices were opened from ten to ten.  The first edition was on the press by eight, in order that it might catch the night trains for provincial circulation.  The city edition went to press at 1 a. m.  Advertising rates were comparatively cheap, and the subscription rate was only fifty sen per month (25 cents).  Before the World War, the Jiji paid its editor-in-chief three hundred yen a month (S150).  Considering the cost of living, that was the equivalent to more than double the amount in America.  The assistant editors received two hundred yen; a good reporter one hundred; and an average one from fifty to seventy-five.  Chinese compositors were paid five dollars a week; and the phonetic compositors from ten to fifteen.  Stereotypers and pressmen were paid from five to eight dollars a week.  Since the war all wages had advanced about 50 percent.  The paper had a staff of correspondents in most of capitals of the world – Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and in each of the great cities of the Orient.  It used cables and telegraphs, regardless of cost, like the average western paper.  Any great event, wherever it occurred, would, within a few hours of happening, throw an army of shrill-voiced newsboys on the street, crying “Gogwai! Gogwai!” “Extra! Extra!”  The photographs of the offices of Jiji-Shimpo, made for Dr. Green, through the courtesy of the editor-in-chief, by the staff photographer, were of unique and vivid interest, and told in a graphic way the story of the making of a Japanese newspaper.



Tom Wilson

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