HOMEJapanese Culture (日本の文化) > 『さかさまの国日本』(Sakasama no kuni Nippon)
Japanese Topsyturvydom

English ed. 1896 (Meiji 29)Catalogue No. 65
『さかさまの国日本』(Sakasama no kuni Nippon
著者:E.S. パットン(Author : E.S. Patton)
絵師:不明(Illustrator : anonymous)

■ 解説
 In this book, Emily S. Patton, the author, describes points in which things in Japanese culture are the contrary of their counterparts in Western culture. On the cover is a picture of children standing on their heads and performing other acrobatics in keeping with the spirit of the book, which emphasizes cultural aspects that appear odd to Western eyes. In the preface, Patton states that her subjects are items that strike foreigners who come to Japan as different from those in their home countries. These items are listed in the table of contents.
  As for content, the book presents observations on topics including a parade with flags commemorating victory in the war with China, books and writings, buildings, boats, food and table etiquette, customs inside and outside the home, horses, temple bells, cucumbers and childraising, gardens and bonsai, funeral processions, miscellaneous images about firemen, the cherry blossoms, and so on. Descriptions accent curiosity and quaintness. While not everything is said to be the opposite of that in the West, the author was apparently astonished to discover that a man walks a step ahead of his woman, who holds an umbrella over his head when it starts to rain, and that sentences are written in vertical lines starting at the right. These practices seem to be responsible for her impression of topsytrvydom.