Japan Before its Opening to the West

*Excessive use of the death penalty (including for women for adultery)
*Suicide as a punishment common and honorable to the family
*Extraordinary longevity
*Dense population
*Large cities
*High intelligence
*Very appreciative of foreign knowledge
*Most intellectual East Asians
*Civil, very good manners
*Beautiful women
*Elegant women
*High-energy
*Jovial attitude
*Sociable
*Drinking games
*Muscular
*Superior to Mongols and Tartars
*Mostly hard-working
*Government officials tightly restricted by other officials
*No dowries, except some paid by the husband
*Primogeniture
*Modal monogamy
*Legal divorce, but difficult for the poor due to sunk costs
*Property taxation based on land length
*Some occasional effective income taxation for the rich
*Taxation on crop output
*Very poorly-trained army
*Very poor shipbuilding
*Lots of fishing
*City gates, but no city walls
*Lots of markets; no bargaining
*Ubiquitous outdoor bathing, with numerous public baths
*Excessive tolerance of nudity
*Much tobacco use
*Eat much less than Europeans
*Tables and chairs rare
*Like growing plants and flowers
*Very suspicious of foreigners
*Strict prohibition against any foreigners not connected to trade, except in times of necessity
*Hats only as protection against rain; fans protect against sun
*Land uncultivated for over a year is considered abandoned
*Many blind people
*Beggars rely entirely on religious motives
*Low buildings (due to earthquakes)
*Prostitutes not considered disgraceful, but customers are
*”particularly fond of the marvelous, the strange, the monstrous”
*City fires a daily occurrence
*Internal passports and checkpoints
*A sort of pantheism or panpsychism common among intellectuals
*”most of the grandees are either freethinkers or downright atheists”
*No real religious conflicts or sectarianism
*Key uniting Supreme Being is the Emperor, with indifference as to specifics of worship
*Far better theater than in China
*Women can participate in society, but have absolutely no rights

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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