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Title: The Americans in Japan: an abridgement of the Government
narrative of the U. S. Expedition to Japan, under Commodore
Author: Tomes, Robert, 1817-1882.
Publisher: New York, Appletn, 1857.
When visiting the ships, the mandarins and their attendants were never at rest; but went about peering into every nook and corner, peeping into the muzzles of the guns, examining curiously the small-arms, handling the ropes, measuring the boats, looking eagerly into the engine-room, and watching every movement of the engineers and workmen as they busily moved in and about the gigantic machinery of the steamers. They were not contented with merely observing with their eyes, but were constantly taking out their writing materials, their mulberry- bark paper, and their India ink and hair pencils, which they always earned in a pocket within the left breast of their loose robes, and making notes and sketches.
The Japanese had all apparently a strong pictorial taste, and looked with great delight upon the engravings and pictures which were shown them, but their own performances appeared exceedingly rude and inartistic. Every man, however, seemed anxious to try his skill at drawing, and they were constantly taking the portraits of the Americans, and sketches of the various articles that appeared curious to them, with a result, which, however satisfactory it might have been to the artists, (and it must be conceded they exhibited no little exultation,) was far from showing any encouraging advance in art. The Japanese are, undoubtedly, like the Chinese, a very imitative, adaptative, and compliant people; and in these characteristics may be discovered a promise of the comparatively easy introduction of foreign customs and habits, if not of the nobler principles and better life of a higher civilization.