Viewing page 12 of 199

Here in Japan the customary ways of doing things are in many instances exactly the reverse of ours. A letter is written from the bottom toward the top of a page and from the right towards the left. A carpenter pulls his plane towards him instead of pushing it away. This blacksmith, you see, sits before his anvil.

The chimney is one of very few to be found here in the native quarter - no dwelling-house or shop has a chimney, for the scanty heat provided in winter comes from a metal or earthen brazier of glowing charcoal, set in a protecting bed of sand, and cooking is done all the year around over similar fires of charcoal in braziers or in hollowed spaces on the top of a rough table of stone or plaster.

Even with the primitive "plant" right here, this man can produce excellent metal hinges, straps and hoops - indeed a wide variety of the simpler hardware furnishings that are in daily use. Of course, Japanese customs do not call for anything like the immense variety and volume of metal supplies that we use in the west; there are no tall buildings, few steel bridges; railroad supplies are imported; the one-story houses are put together with little use of metal nails; there are few horses to be shod and nine-tenths of the machinery used in everyday affairs in Europe and America are unknown here, the work being done by hand. One, two, three and more centuries ago men like this blacksmith were, if anything, more important than now, for the smith's had developed into the armorer's trade. The Japanese smiths of those days used to produce magnificent iron helmets for the feudal knights, shirts of chain armor and swords that could cut stout nails with one sweep of the blade. They used to make too beautiful cast-iron tea kettles inlaid with copper and bronze decarbonizing the surface of the cast-iron in crude furnaces of their own construction, so that it could be elaborately worked with hammer, chisel and graver.

(See Chamberlain's "Things Japanese.")

From Notes of Travel, No. 9, copyright, 1904, by Underwood & Underwood.

[[double line]]

A Japanese blacksmith at his forge, Yokohama, Japan.

Forgeron japonais dans sa forge, Yakohama, Japon.

Japanischer Schmied an der Arbeit. Yokohama, Japan.

Herrero japones en su fragua, Yakohaa, Japón.

Japanesisk smed vid sitt städ, Yokohama, Japan.

Японский кузнец в своей кузнице, Iокогама, Яп.
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.