chapter  2
9 Pages

The Mists of Concealment

By simplicity I do not mean the absence of a multiplicity of elements. Few Japanese, except those who dwell in the remote villages, are "monoliths" and of archaic simple-mindedness. The language and literature of the Japanese are extremely rich in emotional shadings and in synonyms conveying subtle differences of meaning. The religious practice even of the ordinary man is highly complicated: he is liable to be Shintoist as a Japanese, Buddhist in face of death and suffering, Confucianist as a social being in general, personally often a Christian, and, as a man of science, a materialist. Behind the placid facade of correct demeanour he is apt to harbour a fleeting crowd of heterodoxies, doubts, sudden adventures, and variegated pastimes. Whatever he may be, he never resembles those schematic scarecrows figuring in text-books as first approximations to the image of man.