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MUSIC OF JAPAN.                       211
acolyte, dressed chiefly in white, who accompanies his master, step by step, to offer to him, at an understood signal, a cup of tea from a portable vessel which he carries with both hands.*
Some of the Buddhist bonze-houses are cele­brated for their luxury, the number of their priests, their magnificent attire, and the theatrical grandeur of their religious ceremonies. There are also endless numbers of retainers, heralds, grooms and porters, attached to the monasteries. The bonzes often give theatrical spectacles, in which dancers and comedians appear. A very curious piece is given on the fifteenth day of the sixth month. It is a sword dance, or military pageant, performed entirely by the priests. Buddhism in Japan has been a most flexible and conciliatory religion. It has succeeded so easily against the older Japanese religion of Kami, or hero-worship, because its introducers saw what customs had become rooted in the Japanese heart, and retained them. Thus we find the worship of heroes, tolerated in the Buddhist faith, as well as every spectacle and sound, calculated to please the senses of the people. It also steered clear of the rock upon which Christianity split (in Japan), that is, the alienation of the people from their rulers or sovereign.
Players of secular music, are numerous every­where in Japan, but few of them have any idea of time or notation. Blind musicians (of the fraternity above mentioned, and of another called
•Humbert, Jap»n, p. 248.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III