AE | Volumes | Asian Ethnology 77

Contested Utopias

Civilization and Leisure in the Meiji Era

W. Puck Brecher

Japan Meiji leisure tourism resorts

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Abstract

The modernization of leisure in Japan proceeded altogether independently from the modernization of labor. Through the first four decades of the Meiji era (1868–1912), Japanese learned of Western-style leisure, and summer vacationing particularly, from various sources. These included leisure's applications for public health maintenance and resident Westerners' active development of proto-resorts throughout the Japanese countryside. The propagation of vacationing and leisure travel faced a number of ideological obstacles, however, and from the mid-Meiji years was variously contested within public discourse. This article uses the resort region of Hakone as a case study to demonstrate the process by which Western-style leisure practices crystalized in Japan. It then discusses how such practices were received and debated within Japanese print media.

For the first three decades of Meiji there was a reasonable, almost remarkable coherence about Japanese attitudes toward modernization…. The notions that improvement of the nation was possible through determined effort, and that the times required this if Japan was to maintain its independence, were universal. —Jansen 1965 (65)

Few would contest Jansen’s assessment of Japan’s Meiji era.1 Maintaining independence through modernization called for universal, even frantic, “determined effort.” For Japan’s leadership the parameters of modernity were narrowly defined, encapsulated by tidy slogans like bunmei kaika (civilization and enlightenment), fukoku kyōhei (rich country, strong army), and risshin shusse (rise and succeed in the world). Ironically, however, Japan’s fixation on hard work occasionally seemed to contradict values held by resident Westerners, the very archetypes of modernity invited from afar to guide the nation into a new age. European and American expats touted regimented labor schedules and fixed times and spaces for work, but they also placed great value on vacation and recreation. Leisure practices back in their own countries had allowed them to escape their stifling, polluted, crime-ridden cities and reap the physical benefits of fresh air and salubrious physical activities. Japan’s ideological devotion to progress and attendance at the workplace, however, discredited such attractions.

Studies of state involvement in modern Japanese leisure typically detail the Meiji government’s efforts to capitalize on the potential benefits of domestic and international tourism. As aptly told by David Leheny (2003) and others, this narrative begins in the early years of the twentieth century when authorities sought to appropriate recreational activities, times, and spaces to ensure that citizens used those resources “correctly.” Such initiatives crystalized with the explosive advancement of state-sponsored, institutionalized tourism. The 1907 Hotel Development Law lay legal groundwork for the Railway Bureau to construct foreign tourist sites and hotels around the country. In 1912, the Japan Tourist Bureau was created and began selling tours designed to attract foreign visitors (Leheny 2003, 58–61). Such efforts promoted the practice of hisho (escaping the heat, or summering), which subsequently gained widespread currency among Japan’s new middle class. 2

This article complements this narrative in several critical ways. First, it adds comprehensive discussion of the myriad grassroots initiatives that preceded state involvement. Forms of Western-style leisure, it shows, had been growing organically and with little state guidance for nearly half a century. The emergent practice of hisho in the Meiji period, therefore, was neither the product of top-down modernization nor a strategy of top-down ideological control. Rather, it began as a private undertaking independently leveraged by foreign elites. Not until the 1890s were Western forms of leisure widely promoted as “civilizing” practices recommended for the general public.

Second, the article demonstrates that when Western-style leisure travel, and summering specifically, was finally deployed as a beneficial form of vacationing for Japanese subjects, it was received with palpable ambivalence. Summering and the activities it entailed were contested within the media and by a significant portion of the general public. As many urbanites condemned the expense and perceived hypocrisy of such frivolous pastimes, provincial folks decried the desecration of rural landscapes. For both, the transformation of pastoral Japan involved an epistemological shift. In his seminal work Origins of Modern Japanese Literature, Karatani Kōjin (1993, 65) identifies this shift within the works of modern-minded writers. This vanguard “severed the [traditional] connection between landscape and ‘famous sites’,” he writes, enabling them to discover landscape as a reflection of how the subject observes it. As something that “exists side by side” with human life, the natural landscape projects the individual’s interior landscape (Karatani 1993, 66). This attention shift emerged as a byproduct of modernization in the sense that the modern subject’s epistemological orientation creates interiority through the process of coming to see the self as an object. The outer and the inner lose mutual exclusivity, with one emerging as a projection of the other (Karatani 1993, 83). As a projection of a self experiencing recuperation and recreation, a vacationer’s landscape itself becomes transformed as recreational space.

Karatani’s discovery of the modern self as a “discovery of landscape” explains the conversion of pastoral Japan to “modern” leisure space as a perceptual shift involving variable periods of adjustment. This conversion, the article shows, was initiated by Westerners circumventing structural obstacles and venturing into the Japanese countryside to carve out times and places for recreation. As these restless adventurers discovered and developed a constellation of summer proto-resorts around Japan, their efforts helped precipitate the aggregation of local tourist industries. In the process they converted perceptions of the countryside as a place of work—agriculture, forestry, fishing, and cottage industry—into a place for sightseeing, leisure, and recreation.

After contextualizing the emergence of modern leisure during the Meiji era, the article uses the case study of Hakone, a region near the foothills of Mt. Fuji that includes the towns of Hakone and Miyanoshita, to detail the globalization of pastoral Japan. Hakone is foregrounded because it was among the very first mountain proto-resorts to appear in the Meiji era, and because its development as a summer destination proceeded though a series of steps that other bucolic locales, and indeed in some important respects the nation of Japan itself, would also undergo. Finally, the article turns to discussion of how Western forms of leisure were received by the Japanese public. Between the 1860s and 1890s, public discourse vacillated on the notion of lengthy summer vacations for school children and workers. As nationalism swelled concurrently with Japan’s emergence as a colonial power in the 1890s, public sentiment diverged, becoming more attracted to and also more skeptical of “civilization,” including Western-style leisure travel. Although extended summering at resorts and new-fangled secular pastimes like mountain climbing and sea-bathing assumed a measure of prestige among Japanese elites, much of the new middle class initially found them neither intuitive nor desirable. “Civilizing” pastoral Japan involved an epistemological swing that in many cases called for an extended period of adjustment. Japan’s early history of modern vacationing thus proceeded amid competing notions of “civilized” leisure space.

Contextualizing leisure in the Meiji Era

The industrialization and regimentation of daily life in nineteenth-century North America and Europe created demand for occasional escape from those unnatural lifestyles. Upper class “cottage cultures,” leisure communities in mountain highlands and along shorelines, emerged from this demand (Löfgren 1999, 109, 112). European seaside resorts, popularized by desires to escape chaotic, noxious urban environments and reap the health benefits of physical exercise and curative waters, aggregated as exclusive enclaves. Seeking to reassert class privilege, Löfgren 1999 (113) writes, these communities were “characterized by heavily regimented social interaction and an obsession with hierarchies and rituals. An endless program of assemblies, dances, receptions, visits, and card parties organized the season.” The resorts thrived all summer, their seasons generally aligning with school summer vacations. Children and mothers spent the summer months while fathers visited as their work allowed. Although proximity to nature and rustic locals exoticized the experience, resorts variously became troubled by class relations. Summer cottages built by elites in the prime spots were followed later by larger numbers of vacationers building cheaper houses on cheaper sites. Eventually formerly exclusive summer destinations became overrun by modern middle classes wishing to distance themselves from antiquated Victorian elites (Löfgren 1999, 123, 132).

Japan claims its own tradition of domestic leisure travel. 3 Though tourism was initially a privilege of the wealthy, during the Tokugawa period (1600–1868) it was, theoretically, available to everyone. Indeed, the great popularity of pilgrimage and sightseeing during that era shows that leisure travel was eagerly embraced by all classes. Ishimori (Funck; Cooper 2013, 11) goes so far as to argue that seventeenth-century Japan was the first society in the modern world to enable mass tourism. Permission to travel for the purposes of pilgrimage and curative treatment at hot springs (onsen) was readily granted by the shogunate or domainal authorities, or in the case of pilgrimage by temples and shrine. Such ventures also routinely included sightseeing and sex tourism. Leisure travel was facilitated by the emergence of commercialized group tours and burgeoning numbers of inns and travel supply shops. In the Meiji era, the elimination of travel restrictions and expansion of transportation infrastructure enabled more domestic movement for both work and leisure. While the expansion of modern tourist sites facilitated individual and family travel, Formanek 1998 (185) notes, many touristic practices—tourist service providers peddling recreational, commercial tours with fixed schedules and predetermined routes—continued to operate as before. Funck; Cooper 2013 (13) concur that the flurry of movement during the Meiji years largely perpetuated existing traditions of leisure travel, namely religious pilgrimage combined with sightseeing and visits to hot springs.

In the 1850s, the United States strong-armed the Tokugawa government into signing treaties that legalized six foreign settlements in Japan. The residents of these new communities introduced altogether different approaches to and styles of leisure. Western-style leisure travel entailed vacationing for extended periods, usually summers, in attractive settings. These sites provided relief from unhealthy, dehumanizing urban spaces while affording vacationers opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and exploration within a racially insulated community of likeminded peers. Some families built villas at these resorts. Moreover, Western-style resorts provided vacationers with certain coveted amenities while insulating them from unfamiliar and uncomfortable Japanese-style accommodations. Japanese inns (ryokan) provided only communal baths and communal toilets. They also served meals with fixed menus at fixed times. And whereas private or semi-private tatami rooms were available, these were generally separated only by sliding panels. Western-style establishments, in contrast, copied Western architectural models and offered Western furniture, beds, carpeted floors, private bathrooms, and recreational facilities. They also served Western dishes that guests could select from an extensive menu.

Western-style vacationing involved more than indulgence in luxurious amenities. It entailed distinct ways of apprehending the self and its living environment. First, extended respites at bucolic sites invited new ways of conceptualizing and using rural landscapes. By domesticating and appropriating wild, inhospitable places as managed, utopian spaces, the practice of vacationing forged closer, more synergistic relationships between the urban (center) and rural (periphery). In fostering an appreciation for landscape as an aesthetic ideal, it also facilitated the opening and repurposing of new pastoral spaces. Second, designations of leisure time afforded individuals the means and opportunities to take greater control over their own lives. Travel, for example, allowed one to select from and move through an array of spatial frontiers; to take figurative possession of them; and to expand the spatial, epistemological, and experiential complexity of the modern self. In several respects, therefore, vacationing became a means of personal empowerment over one’s own resources (time, money) and living environments.

Western approaches to leisure appeared in Japan amid a process of national self-reinvention. State-led reforms diverted energies and resources toward both fortifying the nation and “civilizing” its citizenry. The latter entailed replacing existing forms of recreation with those that conformed to Western class-consciousness and moral standards. Traditional aesthetics and forms of entertainment, like kabuki, were sanitized for puritanical Western tastes. Westerners who equated public nudity with moral degeneracy viewed sumo wrestling as barbaric and ugly, and many Japanese subsequently came to eschew sumo as a national embarrassment (Tierney 2007, 71). Such examples represent only part of a larger shift in the way leisure was conceptualized, organized, administered, and practiced during the Meiji era. Fundamental to this shift was a perceived need to espouse the utilitarian functions of leisure within a paradigm that prioritized hard work.

Though some Meiji attempts to reform leisure aligned with Western sensibilities, they also employed pre-Meiji strategies of ensuring that the values exhibited through leisure were consistent with Western social mores. Such interventions aimed to propagate moral behavior by relegating immoral pastimes to prescribed times and locations. The Tokugawa government had established not only class-specific living spaces, but also recreational spaces for “evil” pastimes. The latter, sites like the theater and licensed pleasure districts, were, in principle if not in practice, off limits to members of the samurai class. The Meiji government was only following accepted practice, therefore, in “[distinguishing] between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ leisure by making judgements about what kind of people their citizens are supposed to be” (Leheny 2003, 36). 4

Reformulating places for work and leisure also called for a reformulation and systematization of time regimes devoted to leisure, as well as measures that aligned it with an emergent discourse on health and hygiene. In the past, work holidays had been scheduled at regular intervals, though scheduling was derived from various different models. These were generally based on either the Chinese sexagesimal cycle or the lunisolar calendar, resulting in “weekly” work and market cycles of either five or ten days. Separately, many artisans closed their shops on the first and sixteenth days of the month. The Meiji government adopted the Gregorian calendar with its seven-day work weeks in 1873 but waited three more years before submitting to the demands of Westerners and designating Sundays as public holidays for state employees. The Imperial institution, which had declared the sixteenth of every month a public holiday, also began observing Sundays (Plath 1969, 107–08; Baitei 1889, 23). From 1872, foreigners were allowed 1.6 days off per week: Sundays and Wednesday afternoons. The previous year British Consul General Harry Parkes (1828–85) had started taking furloughs and extended summer vacations. The practice caught on, and beginning in 1873 summer vacations from July 23 through the end of August were approved for foreign teachers, soldiers, scholars, and engineers (Saitō 1994, 136).

The adoption of vacationing thus corresponded to the adoption of new temporal divisions between work and leisure, rhythms that also invited reconsideration of spatial divisions for work and leisure (Tanaka 2004, 10–14). The latter would be antidotes to the injurious effects of the former, for leisure was not to be confused with play. It was, in clearly prescribed ways, to serve a recuperative function and thus as a critical counterpart to work. 5

Public health had always been a concern, but the treaties that legalized foreign residence in Japan introduced a new urgency for public health measures, an urgency that magnified the social utility of leisure (recuperative) spaces. A succession of public contagions in the 1850s and 60s convinced authorities to treat public health as a national rather than a strictly personal concern. Illness, health, and hygiene became issues of even greater public concern amid the urbanization of the mid-Meiji era, when, as Marcus (2016, 78) avers, “the modern cityscape itself came to be regarded as aesthetically repulsive and socially alienating—a toxic environment that took a psychic and physical toll on the urban masses.” Tokyo’s 1888 insertion of environmental protections into its city planning law was too little too late (Sand 2003, 145). British envoy Hugh Fraser’s (1837–94) lament over the city’s oppressive living environment was certainly shared by resident Japanese and Westerners alike. The heat, Fraser wrote, was suffocating and deprived one of the rest and food that one needed to live. A ponderously black sky covered the city like a prison blanket, he continued, and at times one drowned in hot rain and thunder. Then, when the rain broke and the sun reappeared, it became even hotter than before; one was relentlessly steamed and scorched anew (Saitō 1994, 140).

As Western expats had been central to both creating and addressing public health concerns, they were also instrumental in establishing connections between health, hygiene, and leisure. Doing so was as simple as engaging in some of the practices they had enjoyed in their own countries. From the early nineteenth century, middle and upper class urbanites in the US and Europe had adopted a practice of summering in cooler settings, a seasonal migration that emptied local schools and made summer vacations a practical necessity. 6

In the 1870s, at about the time that Parkes and Fraser were escaping the Tokyo heat in Hakone, some local Japanese school districts also started authorizing summer vacations. A rough system of summer vacations for elementary and middle school children emerged around 1877, with locales authorizing breaks of between seven and thirty days. In an 1881 statement, the Ministry of Education acknowledged summer vacations by including them in a list of annual elementary school holidays. Seven years later the Ministry then proposed that school districts independently adopt summer vacations of between 15 and 30 days. But the matter was far from settled. Educators debated the issue in print media for the next decade. Between 1888 and 1894, magazines contested the educational, social, and economic viability of summer vacation. Detractors argued that vacations compromised the health of school children, who they supposed would spend those days idly sitting around the house. It would also compromise students’ academic progress, they continued. Not only would students forget their lessons and attend school fewer days, paying teachers to take vacation would hurt school finances. Even after the debate over the viability of summer vacation subsided in the mid-1890s, the discourse shifted to admonitions warning vacationing students about learning bad habits and using their time frivolously (Watanabe 2003, 246–58).

The emergence of pastoral proto-resorts

Prior to Japan’s opening in the 1850s, Western colonial settlers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and other tropical locales adopted a practice of retreating to cooler, scenic highlands during the hottest months. Foreign residents in Japan overcame legal obstacles to enjoy similar practices. Japan’s government had enacted safeguards to prevent foreign incursions into its countryside. The “unequal treaties” negotiated with the Western powers in 1858 permitted foreign settlements in six port cities but confined the movements of settlement residents to a radius of ten ri (roughly 25 miles). Only diplomats were authorized to travel into rural Japan without special permission from the Foreign Ministry. In the wake of cholera epidemics, the state endeavored to keep foreigners isolated from Japanese communities, but also healthy and placated. As early as 1859 it issued permissions for Westerners to travel outside their settlements for “hot spring treatment” (tōji). A doctor’s written testament was needed to obtain those coveted “passports.” The length of these excursions was generous, generally between 30 and 50 days, but, as stipulated on the permits themselves, bearers were prohibited from traveling anywhere other than the prescribed destination and also from engaging in trade or any other form of business. 7 Indeed, one of the original purposes of isolating foreigners and Japanese was the prevention of unsanctioned trade.

After the Meiji Restoration (1868), border stations along thoroughfares were removed, facilitating access to sites like Hakone, but foreigners still needed to acquire permits and doctors’ notes. The first Westerners visited the Hakone region (Hakone and Miyanoshita) for hot spring treatment in 1869. Only three years later, 180 Westerners from the Yokohama settlement received permission to travel for that purpose. Though some went to Atami, the Hakone region was the favored destination (Hakone 1997, 11). Mt. Fuji, Nikkō, and Ikaho (Gunma) were also popular destinations. Though still considered convalescence sites, these locales would soon develop into proto-resorts.

In 1874, the Meiji government amended its “Rules for domestic travel” (Naichi ryokō kisoku), partially deregulating domestic travel for the purposes of convalescence (Saitō 1994, 136). After 1875, a doctor’s note was no longer required, but travelers still had to apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through their respective consulates. Between the summers of 1877 and 1878 the British consulate alone received 435 travel applications. Overwhelmed, in 1877 the Ministry authorized prefectural authorities to issue travel permits (Hakone 1997, 12–13). The first decade of the Meiji era thus witnessed an incremental loosening of travel restrictions and a corresponding transformation of travel destinations from “treatment sites” to resorts. It facilitated, in other words, the advent of more systematized leisure travel into pastoral Japan.

The village of Hakone lay about one mile from the former Hakone border station on the Tōkaidō highway and had been known to foreigners travelling along that thoroughfare. US Consul General Townsend Harris (1804–78) wrote of it, and British Consul General Sir Rutherford Alcock (1809–97) sketched it when he climbed Mt. Fuji in 1860. In 1867, the French adventurer Count Ludovic Beauvoir (1846–1929) visited Miyanoshita and found it full of wealthy Japanese escaping the heat and enjoying the village’s nine hot springs. He also received a warm reception from teahouse proprietors, this despite being one of the first Westerners to arrive. British Consul Parkes and his wife traveled to the Kashiwa lodge in Hakone several times. In 1868, a colleague wryly noted that Parkes seemed to have moved the British legation there that summer. Apparently this was no exaggeration, for the following summer diplomat and Japanologist Ernest Satow’s (1843–1929) diary reports that Parkes and other British legation staff, who as diplomats needed no travel permits, were back there to escape the summer heat (Hakone 1997, 15–16, 18).

In 1869, British legation secretary Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford (1837–1916) visited Miyanoshita and described its utopian setting:

We must have gone some nine miles…since we left Odawara, when we reached the village of Miyanoshita, a most lovely spot lying lost among the hills. The little hamlet seems to be made up entirely of bathing-houses, which are also inns and shops for the sale of camphor-wood boxes, marqueterie and toys of different sorts, very pretty and tasteful, which the bathers take home as keepsakes to their families…. I never saw a place in such complete repose: when we came upon it not a soul was stirring, not a dog was barking…. It will be easily imagined that in such a place the inns are perfection in their way; the charm of that at which I [was] put up quite surpassed my expectations. I was lodged in a beautiful clean set of rooms, with a balcony looking on to a lovely little garden full of dwarfed trees…and a pond full of gigantic goldfish and carp…behind the garden the mountain copses made a natural background of forest scenery. As I lay looking out on this pretty view, after a bathe in the hot water welling from the living rock, I was lulled almost to sleep by the plashing of a neighborhood water-wheel. (Hakone 1997, 18)

Hakone and Miyanoshita indeed boasted an array of attractions. Their elevation and mountain breezes lent relief from summer heat baking the coastal lowlands; their service-minded locals exhibited hospitality to travelers, even foreigners; they were readily accessible from Tokyo and Yokohama; and they offered hot springs, lakes, shrines, hiking, and exquisite mountain scenery, including a commanding view of Mt. Fuji. A number of foreigners had occasion to stop over at Hakone, either on a journey further afield or while travelling to climb Mt. Fuji. Their early accounts of stays at local inns date from around 1870 and report warm hospitality, cheap rates, and excellent views (Williams 1958, 153). Photographer Felice Beato noted the clean air and restorative scenery, describing it as a place where the sick and worn out refreshed their minds and bodies (Hakone 1997, 19). When the Austrian diplomat JosephHübner (1811–92) visited in 1871 he commented that the landscape reminded him of northern Scotland (Saitō 1994, 150).

Meanwhile, medical tourism was becoming indistinguishable from recreational tourism. Resilient local economies happily accommodated the service demands of visitors from the foreign settlements. Travel authorized for the purpose of convalescence fooled few, and within a few years Westerners’ irrepressible wanderlust was converting hot springs destinations like Hakone into full-fledged resorts. In 1870, The Far East, an illustrated newspaper published in Yokohama, targeted Hakone as a destination for foreigners seeking recreation and then followed up with a similar story the following year (Hakone 1997, 21). In 1872, J. H. Sandwith (1872, 4) described Miyanoshita as “a resort for foreigners,” noting that at its inns “the ways of foreigners are understood.” He also reported seeing a sign written in English advertising a hot spring and hotel. The same year, the English newspaper The Japan Weekly Mail published an article instructing readers how to vacation there. Travel applications skyrocketed (Hakone 1997, 23). Hakone’s newfound popularity also attracted the interest of the Meiji Emperor and Empress. While lodging at Miyanoshita’s Naraya Inn for twenty-three days in 1873, the Imperial couple was perturbed by the nearby crater named Ōjigoku (Big hell). Upset at having to reside so close to “hell,” they renamed the crater Ōwakudani (Great boiling valley). Subsequently, guidebooks about Japan published in Europe included Hakone, and important publications by Isabella Bird (1881), Ernest Satow and A. G. S. Hawes (1881), and Basil Hall Chamberlain and W. B. Mason (1891) all helped establish Hakone and Miyanoshita as tourist destinations for travelers from around the world (Hakone 1997, 25–27).

Westerners’ discovery of pastoral Japan was no revelation to the Japanese, of course. Japanese pilgrims and elites had vacationed at hot springs and bucolic sites for centuries (Plath 1969, 132). During the Tokugawa period, even commoners were generally permitted some freedom of mobility, and as pilgrimage emerged as a religious pretext for recreational travel Hakone and Miyanoshita came to serve as favored way stations. German physician Engelbert Kaempfer (1651–1716) had noted Hakone’s pleasant summer climate during his trip to Edo in 1691 (Saitō 1994, 148). Westerners arriving two centuries later thus encountered an established tourist site complete with hiking trails, guides, and inns. In his A Ramble Around the World (1871), Hübner wrote of the many Japanese travelling to and from Tokyo who stopped to rest and soak at Hakone. He then proceeded to marvel at the Japanese “innate” appreciation for natural scenery:

The Japanese are wonderful lovers of nature. In Europe a feeling for beauty has to be developed by education. Our peasants will talk to you of the fertility of the soil, of the abundance of water, so useful for their mills, of the value of their woods, but not of the picturesque charms of the country. They are not perhaps entirely insensible to them, but if they do feel them, it is in a vague, undefined sort of way, for which they would be puzzled to account. It is not so with the Japanese labourer. With him, the sense of beauty is innate. (Hakone 1997, 16)

As resorts, Hakone and Miyanoshita developed separate identities and promised visitors different arrays of offerings. Miyanoshita lay 1,000 feet below Hakone in elevation. It boasted easier access, hot springs, and dry air. Its climate was also comfortable year round. The Western-style Fujiya Hotel opened there in 1878. A large, irregular-shaped building run by a Japanese man, the Fujiya’s décor, culinary offerings, and amenities (which included a billiards table) were European. Its appearance triggered an immediate influx of visitors. 8 Japanese interpreters and guides accompanying those foreigners generally stayed at the nearby Japanese-style Naraya Inn. Given this custom, it is understandable that in their respective English advertisements the Naraya lists its prices in yen and the Fujiya in dollars. The Naraya’s daily rate with three Japanese-style meals was 2.50 yen (1881); the Fujiya’s rate was $1.74 (1884) (Hakone 1997, 39). (The listings in different currencies complicate a comparison of the hotels’ respective prices. In 1870, when the yen was first minted, the exchange rate was set at one yen per US dollar. Isabella Bird reported in 1878 that the yen was “nearly on par…with the dollar.” The yen depreciated, however, and exact exchange rates are unavailable for this period (Reszat 1997, 7).) Both hotels were damaged in a fire in 1883 and rebuilt, the Naraya as a two-story Western-style building.

After a few years, the Fujiya Hotel’s luxuriousness attracted more elite clientele and lent the town a flashier image. Those seeking to experience Japanese accommodations opted for Hakone, which lacked Western lodgings. As a result, missionaries that had habitually lodged at the Fujiya opted to frequent Hakone instead. Hakone was cooler and provided greater privacy. Lodging facilities for foreigners there were also concentrated on the waterfront of Lake Ashino, a prime spot for lakeside activities like boating, fishing, swimming, and viewing Mt. Fuji’s reflection on the lake (Saitō 1994, 152). Most came to escape the heat, relax, and enjoy the hot springs and scenery. In 1880, about 100 tea houses, inns, shops, and farmhouses around Hakone were accommodating foreign guests (Hakone 1997, 37).

During the summer months of 1884, 234 foreigners visited Miyanoshita. Growing numbers necessitated infrastructural changes to accommodate guests accustomed to higher standards of comfort (Saitō 1994, 138). Most travelers had made the roughly 13-mile journey from Odawara on foot, but in 1887 a train line along the Tōkaidō was completed, further facilitating access to the Hakone area. From the following year, the road from Yumoto to Miyanoshita was improved to accommodate rickshaws, allowing travelers from Yokohama to reach the town in a single day. Miyanoshita became a year-round resort community, with the Fujiya Hotel’s annual high-society Christmas party becoming a premier attraction. Infrastructural improvements also made the region accessible to less physically robust tourists. Some who had arrived by rickshaw were then unable to negotiate the mountain trails without assistance, an opportunity that ultimately helped stimulate the local economy. Though The Yokohama Guide notes the availability of kago (sedan chairs) from the Hakone station as early as 1874, more were supplied for this new flood of clientele. About seventy kago were made available in Miyanoshita, each requiring four to six porters to carry a passenger around the region’s mountain paths. For this purpose, some three hundred porters congregated in front of the Fujiya Hotel each morning (Fujiya Hotel Chain n.d.).

Hakone’s international reputation as a premier site for curing and recuperating from diseases like malaria, which were prevalent throughout southern China, proved profitable. By the early 1890s, the Fujiya was attracting a growing number of international guests, mostly from China and other Asian nations. According to its register from July and August 1892, the hotel received 308 foreign guests, 179 (58 percent) of which arrived from outside Japan (Saitō 1994, 143). 9

Local Japanese worked hard to accommodate foreign visitors. Proprietors of Western-style inns not only had to procure local staples but also arrange for regular deliveries of meat, milk, butter, western alcohol, and other delicacies from the city. The large guests and rugged terrain required kago bearers to use chairs that were sturdier and heavier than typical kago. One passenger reported that they worked in teams of three, two carrying and one resting, but could only take 60–90 steps before having to stop, mount the chair on the bamboo stands they carried with them, and rotate position. (This report contrasts with accounts of kago bearers working in teams of four to six.) Local artisans also produced wooden furniture, carvings, and other implements popular as souvenirs among foreign visitors. British Minister Hugh Fraser (he who had complained bitterly about Tokyo’s summer heat) visited Miyanoshita with his wife in 1889. Both loved the European amenities at the Fujiya. Mrs. Fraser perused the shops in town admiring the wooden items and decorated folding screens. Though she reports spending generously, she also notes that the ugliest of the items for sale were those designed to appeal to foreign tastes (Saitō 1994, 140).

By most accounts, the communities benefited from amicable race relations between Western guests and Japanese hosts. Given that few of the travelogues authored by Western visitors mention interactions with local Japanese, one gathers that harmonious coexistence was sustained through unofficial racial segregation. Yet guests arrived with varying expectations about acceptable treatment and hospitality. In 1871 the American Warren Clark (2003, 38–39) described traveling to Hakone by kago as a wholly disagreeable experience: the conveyance “jolting me up and down like a bowlful of jelly… In coming downhill the coolies trot very fast and jolt one almost to pieces.” He also complained that his lodging had no Western beds, chairs, sofas, or food, and that he was assailed by rats while trying to sleep on the floor (Clark (1878) 2003, 41). During a trip there in 1879, Edward J. Reed noted that the proprietor of his inn did not like Westerners and sometimes refused them. Though the inn had a Western-style exterior, its interior and furnishings were Japanese. The proprietor was proud of its interior amenities but felt that his Western guests did not appreciate them. One of the two baths at the inn was mixed, which alarmed his Western guests. In Queer Things about Japan (1903), likewise, Douglas Sladen (1856–1947) complained that during his trip to Hakone girls appeared at the hot spring to peek at him, and also that the old proprietor walked around the bath while he was using it (Hakone 1997, 37, 54). (Westerners’ puritanical views of nudity also became a point of confusion for Japanese. Since Perry had witnessed and commented on it in 1854, the government had repeatedly attempted to eradicate mixed bathing at public baths until finally eliminating the practice in 1890. Some editorialists were incredulous at the attempted prohibition, wondering why allegedly “modern” Westerners were so perturbed by mixed bathing and were unable to look at the opposite sex in the nude, even their own spouses (1887, 121–23).) Indeed, some vacationers did not seek an immersive cultural experience—rather the opposite. In 1893, the Fujiya and the Naraya, the region’s two most luxurious hotels, submitted to foreign requests and implemented a racial segregation policy; the Fujiya determined to accept only foreign guests and the Naraya to accept only Japanese (Hakone 1997, 49). This instance of segregation, ironically, occurred only one year before the unequal treaties were renegotiated to lift residency restrictions and allow mixed residence (naichi zakkyo).

In some contexts, enforcement of residency and property ownership restrictions was lax, and foreigners gradually became more brazen about building cottages (bessō) in their favorite summering spots. The Imperial Hakone Villa (Hakone Rikyū) had been constructed in 1886 as a summer retreat and place of convalescence for imperial family members; the Meiji Emperor himself would also use it to entertain state guests. Perhaps following this example, small numbers of wealthy Japanese also started constructing summer villas in Hakone, and a handful of foreigners were building as well. By 1892, five foreigners had either built on leased land or erected structures under another’s name. This trend extended well beyond Hakone. Apparently the government was amenable to this, for in the same year the Foreign Ministry conducted a census to collect more information about real estate owned by foreigners in the Kanto region. The survey tabulated the number, size, and setting of such holdings, as well as their function as primary homes, secondary homes, or occupational (school, church, etc.) structures. Though most holdings were located in coastal resorts like Kamakura and Zushi, the census revealed a number of secondary homes in Hakone and nearby Gotenba, as well as in mountain destinations like Karuizawa and Nikkō. In Nikkō, five foreigners representing four different nationalities owned houses. Four years later at least fourteen foreigners owned summer villas there (Saitō 1994, 146–47, 272–73). 10

Clearly the emergence of foreign tourism was not particular to Hakone; multiple such proto-resorts were forming concurrently. In May 1891, British businessman R. S. Banding got lost on Hakone mountain and stumbled his way to Ninooka Shrine in Gotenba, where he rented a room. In July, and then every summer thereafter, he brought his family there, and several dozen other British and Americans joined him. In 1899, the year the treaty revisions took effect, several Americans leased land from Ninooka Shrine and built villas, establishing an exclusive community they named Amerika-mura (America-ville), though other nationalities lived there, as well. By 1917, Amerika-mura had expanded to thirty-one households. The crowding made life more difficult for the priests at Ninooka shrine and in 1918 the community, newly named Bankoku-mura (International village), was moved about 500 meters away (Katsumata Yasujima 1990, 320–21). 11 This exclusively foreign settlement established organizations that engaged in an array of activities, including worship, music, swimming, Sunday school, picnicking, golf, tennis, and hiking.

Unzen (near Nagasaki) had been frequented by Westerners since the 1860s. From the mid-1880s, Shanghai Chinese and foreign residents from the Shanghai concession began summering in Unzen and Karuizawa (Nagano prefecture), which were more accessible than Hakone. Unzen lay a mere 2–3 days from Shanghai by ship but did not attract widespread international appeal until the Western-style Shimoda Hotel was completed in 1883 (Okabayashi 2008, 20). It was the 1889 advertisement for this establishment in Shanghai’s English newspapers that triggered an influx of tourists from that city (Okayama 2015, 28, 31).

Karuizawa had long been a station on the busy Nakasendō highway. After the Meiji Restoration it was bypassed by a new road between Nagano and Tokyo and its population declined. In 1886 the Canadian missionary Alexander Shaw (1846–1902) and Tokyo Imperial University teacher James Dixon (1856–1933) encountered Karuizawa and summered there. The following summer Shaw returned with his family and friends. In 1888, the same year that a train line connecting Karuizawa to Yokokawa became operational, Shaw built the first summer house in Karuizawa. Thereafter, the village became known as a summer destination for foreign missionaries, university teachers, diplomats, and businessmen. Shaw’s son, R. D. M. Shaw, later recalled how he had exalted in Karuizawa’s fresh air and natural scenery, which he describes as a child’s paradise. His father, he noted, had selected the location to provide his family with a healthy, wholesome environment (Nakajima ed. 2000, 137). From the 1890s, Karuizawa also attracted small numbers of elite Japanese, including literary giants like Kōda Rohan, Mori Ōgai, Masaoka Shiki, and Tsubouchi Shōyō. Its first luxurious Western hotel, the Manpei, opened in 1894 (Uchida 1989, 497–98, 501; Nishimura; Watanabe; Yasujima 1987, 65). 12

Mt. Rokkō became the premier resort and recreation area for foreigners in the Kobe settlement. Unlike Hakone, Karuizawa, and Nikkō, this 3000-foot plateau lay less than five miles from Kobe itself. For Western residents, Mt. Rokkō’s proximity to the foreign settlement also placed it well within the ten-ri radius, making it ideally suited as both a “country” retreat and a local recreation facility. Though locals had sustainably managed the mountain for centuries as an important source of wood, reeds, and grasses, English businessman Arthur Groom (1846–1918) and other settlement residents started using it as a recreational site in 1873 (Kobe City). Groom had helped establish the Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club in 1870. While in Yokohama he learned of Shaw’s 1886 “discovery” and development of Karuizawa as a foreigners’ resort, news that started him thinking about Mt. Rokkō’s potential as a year-round health retreat for Kobe residents (Uegaki; Yasujima 1990, 315). The plateau commanded excellent views of the surrounding countryside and was considerably cooler than the city. Its pond, hiking trails, and bucolic setting also made it ideal for both recreational activities and convalescence. In 1895 Groom built the first house on Mt. Rokkō and encouraged his friends to follow his example. This group’s first project was construction of a private golf course. Groom leased land near his villa, cleared it, and by 1901 had completed four holes. In 1903 he and his friends opened a nine-hole course, Japan’s first, and established the Kobe Golf Club. Of the club’s 136 original members, most were British; only several were Japanese (Kobe Golf Club n.d.). The following year the course was expanded to eighteen holes. Members also enjoyed newly-introduced Western pastimes like cricket, croquet, boating, swimming, and skiing and skating in the winter. The ski area was completed in 1910 and the Kobe Ski Club formed soon thereafter Uegaki; Yasujima 1990, 318;Kobe City n.d.). At this point the resort community had grown to 56 houses, 44 (78.5 percent) of which were owned by foreigners (Uegaki; Yasujima 1990, 313).

The explosive popularity of Hakone, Karuizawa, Mt. Rokkō, and other resorts resulted from multiple factors, including a proliferation of print media and enthusiastic promotion by local communities. It was particularly enabled by railroads and other forms of modern infrastructure. Nikkō is an apt example. A railroad between Tokyo and Utsunomiya was opened in 1885, greatly facilitating access to Nikkō. Between 1885 and 1887, the number of foreign visitors more than doubled from 553 to 1,199. A railroad covering the final 20 miles to Nikkō opened in 1890, and by the following year the number of foreigners visiting Nikkō reached 1,928 (Itō, Hatsuda 2002, 272–73). Similarly, Mt. Rokkō’s rapid development was aided by the opening of the Hanshin Dentetsu railroad, which became operational in 1905. Other modern technologies also catalyzed the globalization of pastoral Japan. A telegraph office was installed at Hakone in 1881, and in Nikkō in 1886. Hakone acquired telephone service in 1902, and Nikkō in 1910. By this time, government officials were vacationing at these sites and needed real-time communications with Tokyo. Electrical services were also installed relatively early. The nation’s first hydroelectric power plant was constructed in Kyoto in 1891, and the following year its second was built in Yumoto, Hakone (Nishimura; Watanabe; Yasujima 1987, 65).

Ambivalence and contestation

The popularization of Western-style leisure in the Meiji era directly informed shifting conceptualizations of city and countryside. Social, economic, and political conditions hastened the process. Transport infrastructures made urban areas more attractive and accessible, catalyzing an exodus from the countryside that had started centuries earlier. Concurrently, resources were diverted from the declining industries of forestry and agriculture. The anti-Buddhist movement also fostered more secular forms of leisure travel that undermined pilgrimage as an attractive diversion and created demand for alternate recreational activities. New tourist facilities—inns, restaurants, onsen, campgrounds, golf courses, ski areas, hiking trails, souvenir shops, and historical sites—formed to meet this demand (Graburn 1998, 195–96). This diverse, spontaneous conversion of pastoral to recreational space clearly demonstrated the commercial benefits of institutionalized tourism as a modern industry. When the Meiji state did begin to promote tourism after the turn of the twentieth century it was with recognition that the industry also bore several other potentials as a modernizing force: it fostered industrialization and economic development; in encouraging regimented work schedules it “civilized” the nation’s citizenry; it earned revenue from foreign and domestic tourists; and it projected an image of Japan as a modern nation able to provide international travelers with exotic but luxurious vacation experiences.

Though Japan’s modern tourist industry was generally embraced from above as economically beneficial, public discourse was variously skeptical of modern vacationing. Some were deeply reluctant about decreasing workers’ hours, fearful that more leisure would weaken economic output (Leheny 2003, 46–47). Teachers objected that incorporating summer vacations into school calendars would impede student learning and foster indolence. Both felt that leisure fundamentally contradicted the risshin shusse (rise and succeed) mantra—the cult of hard work that praised diligence over ability and productivity over play. 13 The nature of modern leisure pastimes also raised concerns. As the popularity of Western diversions like baseball surged, more newspapers decried them as morally degenerate pursuits that distracted youth from their studies (Leheny 2003, 49). Nationalistic detractors insisted, rather, that youth devote themselves to physical activities like martial arts and calisthenics (taisō) whose outcomes were morally aligned with the state’s strategic priority of nurturing a physically and mentally disciplined national citizenry. As a result of these misgivings, official oversight over leisure came late, and when policy interventions did come they were “contradictory and meandering” (Leheny 2003, 50).

In some cases, even public discourse expressed strong disdain for vacationing and Western forms of leisure. Such lifestyles were financially unrealistic for all but the most fortunate. Interviews conducted between the 1890s and 1923 within the blue-collar area of Kōtō-ku, Tokyo, indicate that the great majority of urbanites were unable to take multi-day vacations. Though fulltime workers were permitted scheduled breaks from work, leisure time remained primarily associated with important annual observances like the New Year and the Honoring the Dead (Obon) Festival (Ackermann 1998, 27–40). Even short vacations incurred transportation, accommodation, and equipment expenses that exceeded the means of many among the new middle classes. Moreover, some Japanese expressed concern about the intrinsic hypocrisy of vacationing. What was supposed to be “a form of anti-consumption,” an attempt to escape the consumerism of modern urban life, was in fact a different form of artificial consumption leveraged by an institutionalized vacation industry (Teo and Lim 2002, 5). To buy into this hypocrisy was to buy into the production and consumption of new commodities, and print media delighted in lampooning this fact.

Public ambivalence drew not solely from the prohibitive costs and perceived hypocrisy of modern leisure. In some cases the desecration of rural landscapes also generated public dissent. The picture Nido bikkuri (Twice surprised) published in the 31 July 1886 issue of Marumaru chinbun (Blue pencil news, 159), for example, depicts local resistance to the environmental damage caused by construction of the Tōkaidō and Nakasendō railroads. 14 Rural communities’ first surprise was the government’s plan to lay railroad along the Nakasendō, an inland thoroughfare through the rugged countryside. When the Nakasendō route proved too mountainous, the state issued a second surprise: to lay track along the entire length of the coastal Tōkaidō highway instead. The illustration depicts the two trains as carpenters’ planes shaving down the ancient bodies (the artist labels the two roads with the character for body ( 胴) rather than road ( 道) of the mountains, which grimace with pain. Meanwhile, locals strain to stop the progress of the railroad and a deity (kami) of the mountains rises up in protest, arms outstretched in a futile effort to halt civilization’s relentless desecration of the natural environment.

Outcry over the destruction of rural landscapes was only one facet of a diverse anti-civilization (hibunmei) movement that became inseparable from the nation’s modernization efforts. 15 For while the Restoration of 1868 ended conflict over the question of whether citizens should pledge loyalty to the emperor or the ousted Tokugawa regime, it did not end debate over loyalty to tradition. The Satsuma Rebellion (1877), whose martyred leader Saigō Takamori (1828–77) posthumously emerged as a paragon of national loyalty, was a definitive revolt against modernization. The rebellion’s failure did not temper resistance against the state and its modernization program, however. Anti-government energies fueled the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement’s (1880s) demands for greater civil rights and political participation. 16 Ongoing public skepticism toward Western civilization drew from myriad sources, including oligarchs and intellectuals alarmed over modernity’s effects on the nation’s spiritual wellbeing. 17 Even as the state dutifully vocalized the mantra of “civilization and enlightenment,” it was equally anxious to qualify that sentiment with the more conservative, balanced slogan “Japanese spirit, Western learning” (wakon yōsai).18 Hibunmei energies further intensified in the 1890s when the wave of nationalism connected to the Sino-Japanese war elicited a roar of diverse voices vaunting Japanese tradition in all its variegated forms.

In myriad subtle ways hibunmei became endemic to much of the era’s mainstream cultural production. While some publications uncritically lauded the nation’s advancements, others variously depicted Western civilization as unnecessary, unwanted, or vaguely disagreeable. Passages from Iwaya Sazanami’s Summer Holiday (Shochū kyūka, 1892), for instance, reveal that Western leisure pastimes like swimming and boating had been widely accepted as viable means of passing the summer hours. But they also demonstrate palpable doubts about certain Western cultural imports. In one episode, five boys on summer holiday row a boat out into Tokyo harbor and become intimidated by the speedy foreign steamships all around them. In another, two boys walk through Tokyo neighborhoods reflecting on the changing cityscape. They begin in Ueno, where the country’s first horse racing track had been recently constructed. As the boys leave Ueno and pass by the Yasukuni shrine and statue of the military hero Ōmura Masujirō (1824–69), both symbols of Japanese nationalism, one asks the other whether he prefers horse racing or sumo wrestling. It is understandable that the boys would be aware of the symbolic juxtapositions represented by these two sites and sports. The question itself shows consciousness of the nation’s uncomfortable integration of the native and the Western. Gazing at the Nikorai-dō (Holy Resurrection Cathedral), a Western building, one boy confesses: “That building annoys me! How come the Westerners built such a big thing in the best location?” (Leheny 2003, 46–47, 61–61, 66). 19

Writer Ito Sakon criticized the nation’s fixation with Western vacationing as evidence of its breathless pursuit of everything Western. In “Exposition on Summering” (Hisho hakuran-kai), a 1907 special edition of Shashin gahō (Photography illustrated) magazine, Ito (1907, 45) rejects the notion that summer is something to be “escaped” (hisho). While acknowledging the severity of the summer heat in Japan, he views it as an opportunity for self-improvement. He begins by invoking a haiku from an unnamed priest: “Three summer months, for the especially pure heart-mind.” Ito cautions, however, that summer leisure is not to be solely an exercise in self-purification, as suggested by the haiku. Rather, it is an opportunity for comprehensive self-cultivation that includes improving one’s physical health. The secret of contending with summer heat, Ito continues, is to deny the discomfort. Resenting the heat only makes one feel hotter. Do not long for Nikkō and Hakone, he writes. Rather, approach summer more philosophically, seeing the long hot season as a chance to accomplish things while strengthening one’s body and health. “If I were the Education Minister,” Ito (1907, 45) proceeds, “I would immediately abolish all summer holidays in all schools. Summer vacations dull the mind and weaken the body, both of which need to be exercised.”

Ito’s defense of earnest self-advancement is no xenophobic rant against all things Western. It embraces, indeed grounds itself in, the discourse on health and hygiene derived from Western science. It also encourages activities like swimming in rivers and oceans, salubrious summer pastimes popularized by Westerners (Ito 1907, 47). Nor does Ito attack the popularity of summer resorts in principle. Indeed, he notes the pleasures of swimming at places like Zushi and Kamakura. Rather, Ito represents both the many who viewed long summer vacations as contrary to the best interests of both the individual and the state, and the many who had no choice but to toil through the summer months and who loyally defended the moral propriety of hard work and perseverance.

In fact, a number of writers publishing in periodicals also expressed skepticism toward long summer vacations, and the booming industry of Western-style vacationing in general. Magazines heralded the summering season with content that both celebrated and parodied the hordes of urbanites flocking to the beaches and mountains in July and August. A satirical comic from a 1906 issue of Fūzoku gahō (Manners and customs illustrated, 13) shows a Japanese bather in the sort of full-body bathing suit worn by modest Westerners. The innovative swimmer, however, has outfitted the suit with fishhooks (needles) enabling him to catch fish as he bathes. This comic expression of bewilderment at Western bathing suits accompanies an article titled “Guide to summering anxieties” (1906, 13–14). As a comic twist on the ubiquitous “summering guide” (hisho annai), the piece is a series of parodic reflections on the strangeness of Western vacationing. The February 22, 1926 issue of Jiji manga (Current events comic, 124) includes a comical picture of a mountainous landscape populated by hordes of tormented hikers being prodded forward by cudgel-wielding demons. Titled “Life is test after test” (Jinsei wa shiken ni tsugu shiken), the image’s message is clear: life is harried and pressure-packed; school and work are full of trials; and even the home is replete with pressures of filiality. Self-advancement, it intones, is like climbing mountains—who needs it? Other illustrations from Jiji manga also represent modern forms of summer leisure as no less arduous and unpleasant than work. “To the mountains, to the mountains!” (Yama e, yama e) in the 20 July 1925 (106) issue depicts factory workers toiling like slaves in hell, but also vacationers in the mountains equally beset with problems. Both groups long for escape from their respective tortures. “The camping life of Taisho-ites” (Taishō-jin no kyanpu seikatsu) from the July 26, 1926 (154) issue shows families with Western camping and hiking gear experiencing an array of comic debacles in the mountains.

Socioeconomic class tensions also contributed to public ambivalence over modern leisure. As a marker of prosperity and sophistication, vacationing stood as evidence of widening gaps between the urban classes, inequities that were then attributed to the false promises of modernity generally. Some willing to tolerate the development of the countryside were less amenable to the prospect of pampered urban aristocrats stomping through those formerly pristine areas. 20 The September 1, 1915 (110) issue of Tokyo pakku (Tokyo puck) heralded the end of the tourist season but also captured palpable class-based resentments toward tourism. A drawing titled “The footprints of city folk” (Tokai no hitobito no ashiato) depicting a recently-deserted beach bears an unambiguously deprecatory caption: “With the first breezes of fall, those who had come to the beaches in summer are gone, leaving footprints. What do these footprints on the now-deserted sea-shore say? Unholy pleasures, laziness, extravagance, licentiousness, frivolity, and arrogance.”

During the first half of the Meiji era, the government greatly aided Japanese mobility by investing in new roads and train lines. Yet these initiatives alone did little to alter the leisure travel practices established centuries earlier (Funck; Cooper 2013, 32). Rather, the emergence of Western-style leisure as both a set of practices and a nascent “civilizing” industry was orchestrated by Western residents and the local development initiatives they set in motion. In asserting the dual functions of summering as both extended recreation and health maintenance, they took ownership of and rebranded the practice of hisho as synonymous with modern civilization. Likewise, as hisho gained currency as a trendy pastime it also crystalized as a contested metric of modernization. The conversion of rustic Japan to “modern” leisure space, meanwhile, involved adjustments and perceptual shifts for urban and provincial populations alike. For some the conversion represented a civilizing process and, as noted by Karatani, modern forms of self-discovery. Many others, unwilling to accept modern views of rural Japan as a salubrious playground, contested these new relationships with local landscapes.

Notes


  1. The author wishes to thank the anonymous reviewers and especially David Leheny, for their helpful comments and suggestions. 

  2. The practice of escaping the summer heat was neither Western nor modern. Elites throughout Asia had been summering at mountain palaces and cottages(J: hisho sansō) for centuries. In the early nineteenth century, Western merchants and missionaries residing in China also began taking summer retreats for both restorative and recreational purposes. 

  3. For discussion of early tourism in Japan, see Formanek 1998

  4. The Yoshiwara pleasure quarter in Edo was walled off and laid out to conceal its activities from any who might be peering in from the front gate. 

  5. Throughout much of the Meiji period, authorities resisted implementing policies that would institutionalize leisure time for workers and school children. Factory workers during the Meiji era did work longer hours than their counterparts in the Edo period, and doing so took a toll on their health. It took the government until 1911 to pass initial protections. That year’s Factory Act (Kōjō-hō) limited women’s work days to twelve hours and afforded them two personal days per month (Linhart 1988, 279). Japan rejected an International Labor Office proposal in 1919 to reduce the work week to 48 hours. 

  6. For a full discussion, see Gold 2002. Vacations were officially adopted by US schools in the mid-nineteenth century despite pushback from provincial schools where classroom temperatures were more bearable. 

  7. Technically, such passports were required until 1899 when treaty revisions allowed foreigners to travel, live, and do business anywhere. 

  8. Within one month of opening, the Fujiya was accommodating thirty guests, twenty-four of whom were missionaries. 

  9. From the end of the Sino-Japanese war (1894–95), prices at these Japanese resorts suddenly rose sharply, prompting more Chinese vacationers to develop domestic resorts such as Lushan (Li; Soshiroda; Watanabe 1998, 643–45). Nonetheless, Japan remained a popular destination through the 1920s. 

  10. Greater numbers of Japanese villas appeared during the Taishō era (1912–26). 

  11. Gotenba was not the only foreign community to form around a specific nationality. Russians congregated in Tonosawa, a hot spring village in Hakone, and in 1889 erected a Russian Orthodox church in nearby Yumoto. 

  12. Karuizawa’s foreign residents were particularly active in constructing athletic and religious facilities, public spaces, and organizations, infrastructure that would allow them to recreate their native lifestyles. 

  13. For a full discussion, see Kinmonth 1981

  14. Marumaru chinbun was a weekly comic newspaper. It is occasionally cataloged as Dandan chinbun

  15. A full discussion of anti-modernization and anti-Western sentiments in the Meiji era is beyond the scope of this article. 

  16. Pressure to display loyalty to the state conflicted with the notions of individual empowerment and agency advanced by Western democracies. For a discussion, see1968, 160–62. 

  17. See, for example, Hackett 1965 and Katō 1965

  18. Suspicion of Western modernity was also variously validated by Westerners themselves. Significant numbers joined Japanese in calling for the preservation of traditional Japanese arts, crafts, and aesthetic tastes (Steele 2005, 123–27). 

  19. This author also uses the name Ōe Sazanami. 

  20. In North America and Europe, vacationing began as a predominantly male, middle and upper-class endeavor, making it “a colonial quest.” The middle classes followed, but not always quietly. Disdainful of classist pretensions, they developed their own vacationing practices (Löfgren 1999, 102). 

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