National Geographic : 1923 Oct
423 THE EMPIRE OF THE RISEN SUN READING DURING A LULL IN HIS TRADE After a long sleep of centuries, young Japan is now wide awake, and no other country can boast such rapid strides in so many directions. Adopting quickly the forces of Western civilization, its people set themselves the task of modernizing their country in one generation, with such success as to astonish the world. It was said by aliens first tackling the Japanese script and style of speech that there were seven distinct languages in one. At times Japanese gentlemen in conversation seemed to have graduated from an old-time school for the deaf, for they used their fingers and the palms of their hands most industriously to show just what ideographs they were using or the meaning they wished to convey. A reform in this direction meant the uplift of humanity and the manifold in crease of the nation's resources through productive individual ability. To my mind, these facts explain the national renaissance better than official statistics, imposing as these figures of millions are, or even the present-day reports of trained alien journalists. Briefly stated, Japan is likely to keep up with her competitors in the race be cause of her previous preparation, and, now that she has accepted the proposals of the Washington Conference, she is likely to gain her "second wind." "Education is the basis of all progress," became the motto of the nation fifty years ago. With the old Chinese characters, where a single sound might have, in writ ing, more than 200 different meanings, we can see the necessity of the finger play referred to.