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MUSIC OF JAPAN.
225
appearance of infernal personages on the stage is always accompanied with lightning.
The principal characters of the drama are accompanied on the stage by a couple of attend­ants, each carrying a long stick at the end of which is a lighted candle. The use of these candles is amusing; they show to the audience what they ought to admire. If the actor's facial expression be peculiar, his attitude graceful, his dress fine, or his weapons elegant, the candle is at once held to the part, to attract attention.
"With regard to the literary merit of the Japanese drama, not enough is yet known where­on to base a detailed analysis, but it is safe to say that the art is yet in its infancy. It is singular, that, while we regard some of the situations in their plays as exceedingly indelicate, they, on their part, condemn our drama as totally immoral, and would not tolerate such plays as " Hamlet," " School for Scandal," etc.
The key to the enigma is this,—they allow every license to unmarried ladies, but the married state is with them inviolable. They therefore tranquilly witness plays which would put " Camille" to the blush, but allow nothing which involves post-marital intrigue. Some of their actors are quite skillful; there is one at present upon the Yeddo stage, who performs the part of a man possessed with the soul of a cat, and the blending of human and feline character is said to be marvel­ous.
The caste of actors, as in China, is rather low; 15






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