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“Seeds for a New Life”: Modernity and the Pacific Turn in the Progressive Era

  • Constance Chen (a1)


Since the colonial era, the ideological and cultural usefulness of Asia has changed with evolving American needs. This article argues that the Progressive Era turn toward the Pacific world marked a new epoch and mode of transnational interchange as a diverse array of Americans traveled to China and Japan. Encounters with Asianness in situ would lead to a reinvention of the U.S. worldview in the late nineteenth century. The question at hand for certain Americans was how to become “modern,” to germinate “seeds for a new life” that would ensure the prosperity and well-being of the United States amidst momentous global changes. Instead of being antimodernist, the fetishization of Asia served as a way to rein in and define modernity for American purposes. In the process, modernist Orientalism became a framework for imagining China and Japan and their cultural practices. Buddhism, in particular, was reconceptualized as a hybrid entity that seemed to be emblematic of the dawn of a new era. Ultimately, the flow of ideas and peoples between Asia and the United States enabled Americans to construct a global “modern” identity for themselves and to carve out a prominent role for the nation within the international community.


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1 For a discussion on the American China Development Company, see Braisted, William, “The United States and the American China Development Company,” The Far Eastern Quarterly 11 (February 1952): 147–65.

2 Parsons, William Barclay, An American Engineer in China (New York: McClure, Phillips & Co., 1900), 5.

3 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 135.

4 On Europe's relationship with Asia, see Halbfass, Wilhelm, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988); and Schwab, Raymond, The Oriental Renaissance: Europe's Rediscovery of India and the East, 1680–1880 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984).

5 Hoganson, Kristin L., Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007); Frank, Caroline, Objectifying China, Imagining America: Chinese Commodities in Early America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); Crossman, Carl L., The China Trade: Export Paintings, Furniture, Silver and Other Objects (Princeton: Pyne Press, 1972); and Honour, Hugh, Chinoiserie: The Vision of Cathay (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1961).

6 Qian, Zhaoming, Orientalism and Modernism: The Legacy of China in Pound and Williams (Chapel Hill: Duke University Press, 1995); and Kern, Robert, Orientalism, Modernism, and the American Poem (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

7 Hearn, Lafcadio, “Nirvana,” in The Buddhist Writings of Lafcadio Hearn, introduction by Rexroth, Kenneth (Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson, 1977), 90. For scholarly discussions on the appropriation of the exotic by the United States to redefine itself, see Brody, David, Visualizing American Empire: Orientalism & Imperialism in the Philippines (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010); Çelik, Zeynep, Displaying the Orient: Architecture of Islam at Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988); Guth, Christine M. E., Longfellow's Tattoos: Tourism, Collecting, and Japan (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004); and Wexler, Laura, Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).

8 Tchen, John Kuo Wei, New York before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776–1882 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

9 Lears, T. J. Jackson, No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880–1920 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994); and Jacobson, Matthew Frye, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917 (New York: Hill & Wang, 2001).

10 Stowe, William, Going Abroad: European Travel in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017); and Kilbride, Daniel, Being American in Europe, 1750–1860 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).

11 See for instance Micallef, Roberta, ed., Illusion and Disillusionment: Travel Writing in the Modern Age (Boston: Ilex Foundation, 2018); Thompson, Carl, Travel Writing: The New Critical Idiom (London: Routledge, 2011); Frank, Katherine, A Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley (London: Tauris Parke, 2006); Farr, Martin and Guégan, Xavier, eds., The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols. (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); and Henes, Mary and Murray, Brian H., eds., Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760–1900 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

12 See for instance Renate Dohmen, “Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India,” in Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 42–64; Foster, Shirley and Mills, Sara, eds., An Anthology of Women's Travel Writing (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2002); and Pomeroy, Jordana, ed., Intrepid Women: Victorian Artists Travel (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005).

13 Ghose, Indira, Women Travellers in Colonial India: The Power of the Female Gaze (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 2324. See also Inden, Ronald, “Orientalist Constructions of India,” Modern Asian Studies 20 (July 1986): 401–46.

14 Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone,” Profession (1991): 33–40; and Pratt, Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 1992). See also Mills, Sara, Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women's Travel Writing and Colonialism (London: Routledge, 1991); McKenzie, Precious, The Right Sort of Woman: Victorian Travel Writers and the Fitness of an Empire (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012); and Sen, Indrani, Woman and Empire: Representations in the Writings of British India (1858–1900) (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2002).

15 Go, Julian, Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). Go contends that even though Britain and the United States took different “imperial paths,” they shared similar “policies, modalities, and forms” in establishing and governing their territories and colonies (235).

16 Moore, Gregory, Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy: Theodore Roosevelt and China, 1901–1909 (New York: Roman & Littlefield, 2015); and Beale, Howard, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984). Roosevelt concentrated on the Caribbean during his presidency even though he was credited with playing a crucial role in ending the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. While Ralph Waldo Emerson had denigrated China as a “booby nation” as a young man in 1824, by 1868 he was giving a speech lauding a delegation sent from the “oldest Empire in the world.” He praised the “advantages” of the growing affiliation between the two countries. Even the Chinese laborers whom he had excoriated decades earlier he now perceived to be efficient and “versatil[e] in adapting themselves to new conditions.” See his April 6, 1824 letter in The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume II, 1822–1826 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1961), 378; and Speech at Banquet in Honor of Chinese Embassy,” Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Complete Works: Miscellanies, vol. XI (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1904), 472–74. Emerson's seeming about-face took place in 1868, the year the Burlingame Treaty was passed, signaling the formal establishment of friendly relations between the two countries. Moreover, it betokened the changing views of Asia throughout the nineteenth century.

17 See for instance Hunter, Jane, The Gospel of Gentility: American Women Missionaries in Turn-of-the-Century China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984); Fairbank, John King, ed., The Missionary Enterprise in China and America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974); and Hutchison, William, Errand to the World: American Protestant Thought and Foreign Missions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).

18 Lafcadio Hearn's writings appeared frequently in the Atlantic Monthly. See for instance “From My Japanese Diary,” Atlantic Monthly 74 (November 1894); “A Wish Fulfilled,” Atlantic Monthly 75 (January 1895); and “At Hakata,” Atlantic Monthly 74 (October 1894). In 1887 and 1891, the Atlantic Monthly also serialized Percival Lowell's books, The Soul of the Far East (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1888) and Noto: An Unexplored Corner of Japan (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1891). Lowell was credited as the first non-Asian to have written an account of culture, Korean, Choson, the Land of Morning Calm (Boston: Ticknor & Co., 1885).

19 See Tchen, New York Before Chinatown; Lockwood, Stephen, Augustine Heard and Company, 1858–1862: American Merchants in China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971); and Denker, Ellen, After the Chinese Taste: China's Influence in America, 1730–1930 (Salem, MA: Peabody Museum of Salem, 1985).

20 Griffis, William Elliot, The Mikado's Empire (New York: Harper Bros., 1876), 339. The Philadelphia-born educator was invited by Japanese officials to “modernize” the country's school systems. He taught chemistry and published manuals on the English language, among other things, while he lived in Japan between 1871 and 1874.

21 See for instance Wade, Thomas, “On China,” in P. & O. Travelers’ Pocket Book (London: Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., 1888). In his article for the guidebook, Wade observed that “China, in these days, is by no means out of globe-trotting range” (181).

22 See for instance Dawson, Carl, Lafcadio Hearn and the Vision of Japan (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992); Bisland, Elizabeth, ed., The Japanese Letters of Lafcadio Hearn (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1910); Bisland, Elizabeth, The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn, 2 vols. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1906); Hodermarsky, Elizabeth et al. , John La Farge's Second Paradise: Voyages in the South Seas, 1890–1891 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010); Yarnall, James, John La Farge in Paradise: The Painter and His Muse (Newport, RI: William Varelka Fine Art, 1995); Yarnall, James, John La Farge, A Biographical and Critical Study (New York: Routledge, 2016); Kresser, Katie, The Art and Thought of John La Farge: Picturing Authenticity in Gilded Age America (New York: Routledge, 2013); and Rosenstone, Robert, Mirror in the Shrine: American Encounters with Meiji Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991).

23 I have chosen to include Morse with the lesser-known travelers because of his comparative work on China and Japan, unlike Hearn and others who focused almost exclusively on Japan.

24 On the problematics of language and representational strategies, see Hall, Stuart, “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power,” in Formations of Modernity, eds. Hall, Stuart and Gieben, Bram (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1992), 275332; Sapra, Rahul, The Limits of Orientalism: Seventeenth-Century Representations of India (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2011); and Yu, Henry, Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

25 See for instance Kaplan, Amy, The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); Rafael, Vicente L., White Love and Other Events in Filipino History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000); and Yoshihara, Mari, Embracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003). For discussions on nativism and exclusionist immigration policies, see Gyory, Andrew, Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998); Miller, Stuart Creighton, The Unwelcome Immigrant: The American Image of the Chinese, 1785–1882 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969); Saxton, Alexander, The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992); Lee, Robert, Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999); and Kurashige, Lon, Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

26 Said, Edward W., Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1978). See also Said, Edward W., Culture and Imperialism (London: Vintage Books, 1993).

27 Morse, Edward Sylvester, Glimpses of China and Chinese Homes (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1902), 147–48.

28 Vigden, Michiko Nakanishi, “Letters to Edward Sylvester Morse, Part I: From David Murray,” Journal of Kanto Gakuin Women's Junior College 88 (July 1992): 56. Murray was the American superintendent of the Japanese Ministry of Education and helped Morse get the job at Tokyo Imperial University.

29 See Wakeman, Frederic Jr., The Fall of Imperial China (New York: The Free Press, 1975); and Hucker, Charles O., China's Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1975).

30 Morse, Glimpses of China, 3.

31 Hart, Virgil C., Western China: A Journey to the Great Buddhist Centre of Mount Omei (Boston: Ticknor & Co., 1888), 288.

32 Morse, Glimpses of China, 107.

33 Hendley, Charles M., Trifles of Travel (Washington, DC: Rider Press, 1924), 64. Hendley traveled throughout Asia in the early twentieth century, visiting China, the Philippines, Korea, and other countries before returning to the United States via Egypt.

34 Taylor, Bayard, A Visit to China, India, and Japan in the Year 1853 (New York: G. P. Putnam & Co., 1855), 333. Taylor claimed that China was “the very best country in the world—to leave” (499).

35 Hendley, Trifles of Travel, 78. Hendley wrote that “the Chinese find great difficulty in acquiring our language. Pigeon English is used in all portions of this country.”

36 Taylor, A Visit to China, 290.

37 Hart, Western China, 63. During his travels, Hart observed that “the sallow complexion of the people, their emaciated forms, and languid movements attract our attention everywhere along the river. I do not see a beautiful face or figure, nor a rosy cheek.” See also 119 and 126 on opium smoking.

38 Taylor, A Visit to China, 390.

39 “These decaying stalks speak; they tell me why the death-pallor is upon all faces, from the shriveled form of age to the bow-legged child sitting in the cottage door. O seductive viper, curse of millions! Who shall dare to stand up in the presence of this fast-fading degenerating people, and say the evil is not widespread and fatal?” Quoted from Hart, Western China, 64. Even worse, perhaps, opium frequently was offered to the gods by faithful worshippers in the temples (78).

40 In the foreword to Hart's, Edgerton IvesVirgil C. Hart, Missionary Statesman (Toronto: McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1917), F. C. Stephenson touted him as “free[ing]” China from “age-long stagnation and lift[ing] her into new life.”

41 Hart, Western China, 64.

42 Morse, Glimpses of China, 6. See also 5, 7, and 28.

43 Taylor, A Visit to China, 318.

44 Morse, Glimpses of China, 137.

45 Morse, Glimpses of China, 137.

46 Morse, Glimpses of China, 6.

47 Morse, Glimpses of China, 143.

48 For discussions on the Meiji Restoration of 1868, see Keene, Donald, Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852–1912 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005); Phipps, Catherine L., Empires on the Waterfront: Japan's Ports and Power, 1858–1899 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2015); Jansen, Marius, ed., The Emergence of Meiji Japan (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995); and Karlin, Jason, Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan: Modernity, Loss, and the Doing of History (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2014).

49 Quoted from Goldstein, Jonathan, “Edward Sylvester Morse (1838–1925) as Expert and Western Observer in Meiji Japan,” Journal of Intercultural Studies 15 (1987): 67.

50 See for instance Duus, Peter, The Japanese Discovery of America: A Brief History with Documents (Boston: Bedford Books, 1997); and Masako, Herman, The Japanese in America (Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana Publishing, 1974).

51 Vigden, “Letters to Edward Sylvester Morse,” 63.

52 Art historians like Donald Preziosi and Vernon Minor have argued that objects of art have often been used as evidence for assessing the creators’ level of refinement. See Preziosi, Donald, Rethinking Art History: Meditations on a Coy Science (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989); and Minor, Vernon Hyde, Art History's History (New York: Pearson, 2000).

53 Morse, Edward Sylvester, Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings (New York: Dover Publications, 1886), xxxiii.

54 Morse, Edward Sylvester, Japan Day by Day, vol. I (Atlanta, GA: Cherokee Publishing, 1917), 270.

55 Morse, Glimpses of China, 36.

56 Morse, Glimpses of China, 38.

57 Morse, Glimpses of China, 50. Morse did not find Japanese kitchens to be as clean and spacious as the other rooms in the home, but many were nevertheless “well lighted and airy.” From Morse, Japanese Homes, 185.

58 Hart, Western China, 96. During a stay at an official residence, he found that the “lanterns [were] scattered everywhere, and always where the foreigner would not have them.”

59 Hart, Western China, 129.

60 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 215–17.

61 Taylor, A Visit to China, 352.

62 Taylor, A Visit to China, 353.

63 Taylor, A Visit to China, 330.

64 Hart, Western China, 83. Furthermore, a “Chinaman with a foreign calico coat or English broadcloth has taken a short step toward international brotherhood.”

65 Albert J. Beveridge Speech on the Philippine Question, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC, January 9, 1900.

66 See Delmendo, Sharon, The Star-Entangled Banner: One Hundred Years of America in the Philippines (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004); and Hoganson, Kristin L., Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).

67 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 44.

68 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 180.

69 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 15.

70 Taylor, A Visit to China, 333.

71 Hendley, Trifles of Travel, 54–55.

72 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 96.

73 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 137.

74 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 135.

75 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 134.

76 Mar, Walter Del, Around the World Through Japan (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1902), 125–26.

77 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 305.

78 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 98.

79 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 119.

80 For more detailed discussions on the Boxer Rebellion, see Bodin, Lynn and Warner, Chris, The Boxer Rebellion (Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 1979); Xiang, Lanxin, The Origins of the Boxer War: A Multinational Study (London: Routledge, 2002); and Purcell, Victor, The Boxer Uprising: A Background Study (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

81 Historians demarcate 1899 as the beginning of the revolt, but it had been rooted in decades of growing Chinese resentment against economic, political, and religious intrusions from foreigners. Led by a secret organization called the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists, many of the participants were young men from the peasantry who practiced martial arts, leading Europeans to nickname them “Boxers.” Chinese officials, for the most part, did not act either to stem the revolt or to aid the Boxers. The Boxer Rebellion was eventually put down in 1901 by a military alliance between the Americans, the Japanese, and various European powers. Its aftermath saw the continued weakening of the Chinese imperial government and the growing domination of foreigners.

82 Douglas, R. K., “China,” in P. & O. Pocket Book (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1908), 9899.

83 From Dunnell, Mark B., “Our Rights in China,” Atlantic Monthly 86 (October 1900): 277. The publication featured many essays on the “Chinese problem.” See also Brooks Adams, “Russia's Interest in China,” Atlantic Monthly 86 (October 1900); Angell, James B., “The Crisis in China,” Atlantic Monthly 86 (October 1900); and Hubbard, James M., “Russia as a Civilizing Force in Asia,” Atlantic Monthly 75 (February 1895).

84 Hendley, Trifles of Travel, 54.

85 Smith, D. Warres, European Settlements in the Far East, China, Japan, Corea, Indo-China, Straits Settlements, Malay States, Siam, Netherlands India, Borneo, the Philippines, Etc. (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1900), 157.

86 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 36.

87 According to Parsons, “We of to-day are concerned not so much with what China will eventually do with progress, as with what we ourselves can and should do with it now.” From Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 314–15.

88 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 103.

89 Roland Thomas Kinney, August 12, 1918 journal entry, Record of a Voyage to the Orient in 1918, Henry E. Huntington Library Collection, San Marino, CA. Kinney was from Pasadena, California. He got the “travel bug” and yearned to see “the Orient.”

90 Hall, E. Hepple, The Picturesque Tourist, A Handy Guide Round the World. For the Use of All Travellers Between Europe, America, Australia, India, China, and Japan (New York: American News Company, 1877), 169–70.

91 Wade, “On China,” 182. Elsewhere in the guidebook, the harbor of Hong Kong was touted as “one of the finest and most beautiful in the world. Portuguese lorchas, and Chinese junks and sampans—set, as it were, in a framework of noble scenery, gives a picture that is ever animated and magnificent” (91–92).

92 P. & O. Travelers’ Pocket Book (1888), 92.

93 P. & O. Travelers’ Pocket Book (1888), 92.

94 According to Elizabeth Keith, Hong Kong was “a place with excellent roads and beautiful houses, and [it was a pleasure] to see clean, well-fed coolies with good rikishas [sic].” From Keith, Elizabeth, Eastern Windows: An Artist's Notes of Travel in Japan, Hokkaido, Korea, China and the Philippines (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1928), 6263.

95 Smith, European Settlements, 191.

96 Taylor, A Visit to China, 476.

97 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 89.

98 Reese, Albert M., Wanderings in the Orient (Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1919), 63.

99 Douglas, R. K., “China,” in P. & O. Pocket Book (London: Adam & Charles Black, Ltd., 1926), 117.

100 Reese, Wanderings in the Orient, 64.

101 Smith, European Settlements, 110. Smith lauded the beautification of Suchow with European-style public gardens and recreational grounds.

102 Phillips Brooks, letter dated January 3, 1883, quoted from Brooks, Phillips, Letters of Travel (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1894), 238.

103 Letter from Phillips Brooks to William Sturgis Bigelow, September 2, 1889, William S. Bigelow Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. In the same letter, the Boston minister acknowledged that while he admired Buddhist ideals, he found that salvation could only come from his Christian God.

104 Ford, Worthington C., ed., Letters of Henry Adams (1858–1891), vol. I (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1930), 366.

105 Versluis, Arthur, American Transcendentalism & Asian Religions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 323.

106 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 307.

107 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 289.

108 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 305.

109 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 211.

110 See for instance Feifer, George, Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2006); and Wiley, Peter Booth, Yankees in the Land of the Gods: Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan (New York: Penguin, 1991).

111 Hendley, Trifles of Travel, 112.

112 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 222. According to Del Mar and others, Korea was of “even more paramount importance to Japan than the Tripoli question to Italy, the integrity of Afghanistan to England, the Lost Provinces to France, or the Monroe Doctrine to the United States.”

113 Hendley, Trifles of Travel, 106.

114 In return, the Japanese would recognize the United States’ claims over Hawaii and the Philippines. This accord symbolized both countries’ growing colonialist designs within Asia. See Jansen, Marius B., The Making of Modern Japan (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2002); and Gould, Lewis L., The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2011).

115 Hendley, Trifles of Travel, 107.

116 Hendley, Trifles of Travel, 111.

117 Walter Del Mar, “Japan,” in P. & O. Pocket Book (1908), 123–24.

118 Agnes Herbert, “Japan,” in P. & O. Pocket Book (1926), 148.

119 Herbert, “Japan,” 157.

120 Del Mar, Around the World Through Japan, 322.

121 For discussions on the popularization of Buddhism outside of Asia, see for instance Seager, Richard Hughes, The World's Parliament of Religions: The East/West Encounter, Chicago, 1893 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995); Seager, Richard Hughes, Buddhism in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000); Fields, Rick, How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1992); Tweed, Thomas, The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844–1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent (Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 2000); Tweed, Thomas and Prothero, Stephen, eds., Asian Religions in America: A Document History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); and Snodgrass, Judith, Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbian Exposition (Chapel Hill: University Press of North Carolina, 2003).

122 Toki, Horin, “The History of Buddhism and its Sects in Japan,” in The World's Congress of Religions (Boston: Arena Publishing Co., 1893), 214.

123 Friends’ Presentation of their Faith, Works and Hopes in the World's Parliament of Religions and Proceedings in Their Denominational Congress (Chicago: W. B. Conkey Co., 1893), 92.

124 Anagarika Dharmapala, “The World's Debt to Buddha,” in The World's Congress of Religions, 201.

125 Dharmapala, “The World's Debt to Buddha,” 200.

126 Andō, Shōei, Zen and American Transcendentalism: An Investigation of One's Self (Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1970), 5.

127 “The Value of Buddhism,” The Light of Dharma 5 (April 1905): 8.

128 Quoted from Ketelaar, James Edward, Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan: Buddhism and Its Persecution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), xii.

129 “Book Review of The Soul of Man,The Buddhist Ray (Santa Cruz, CA), Nov.–Dec. 1891, 3.

130 Bartlett, George C., “An Episode in the Life of a Medium,” The Open Court 23 (February 1909): 79. The article recounted the author's visit with a medium, Charles H. Foster, in Louisiana.

131 See Evans, H. R., “The Necromancy of Numbers and Letters,” The Open Court 23 (February 1909): 8595 and Burlingame, J., “Reminiscences of a Famous Magician. The Wonderful Feats of Dr. Lynn,” The Open Court 23 (February 1909): 96106.

132 Hiestand-Moore, E., “Sir Edwin Arnold on Japanese Buddhism,” The Light of Dharma 5 (April 1905): 1516.

133 Kino, K., “A Normal Religion,” The Light of Dharma 6 (January 1907): 1213.

134 Kino, “A Normal Religion,” 8–9.

135 From “General Information,” The Buddhist Ray (Santa Cruz, CA), Nov.–Dec. 1891, 1.

136 “Adaptability of religion to its environment is a powerful and decisive agent for its destiny.” From Kino, K., “New Application of the Old Truth,” The Light of Dharma 5 (April 1905): 2728. See also Godart, G. Clinton, Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine: Evolutionary Theory and Religion in Modern Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2017) for a discussion about the impact of Darwinism on Japanese religious thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

137 Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, “Is Buddhism Nihilistic,” The Light of Dharma 61 (January 1907): 6–7. Suzuki went on to write that had the Americans and Europeans embraced Buddhism centuries earlier, they “might have developed quite differently.”

138 Buddhism bore “a strong resemblance and similarity to the modern theory of evolution, not only in the principle itself but also in the process of carrying it out.” Quoted from Kino, “A Normal Religion,” 11. Dharmapala had also argued that the Buddhist philosophy on life and spiritually were in essence Darwinian. See Dharmapala, “The World's Debt to Buddha,” 202.

139 “Before the soul became an expression in form of the All, or One Ego, it was predestined to become a human being by the process called evolution.” Quoted from Wilson, Thomas B., “Predestination,” The Light of Dharma 5 (April 1905): 31.

140 Nagao, Skesaburo, The Outline of Buddhism (San Francisco: Buddhist Mission, 1900), 49.

141 Wilson, “Predestination,” 31.

142 Hearn, Lafcadio, “Silkworms,” in Hearn, Lafcadio, In Ghostly Japan (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1899), 6566.

143 The Buddhist Ray (Santa Cruz, CA), Nov.–Dec. 1891, 7.

144 Hearn, Lafcadio, Gleanings in Buddha-Fields (Leipzig, Germany: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1910), 254.

145 Bigelow, William Sturgis, Buddhism and Immortality (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1908), 5561. Bigelow argued that “the process of evolution is the process of increase in the amount [of universal consciousness] realized.”

146 Bigelow, Buddhism and Immortality, 71–72. Ultimately, to be able to transcend the material world through the evolutionary process would help the Buddhist arrive at “infinite and eternal peace. … That peace is NIRVANA” (76).

147 Kino, “A Normal Religion,” 12–13.

148 According to Suzuki, “all religious systems, whatever their original character, must adapt themselves to new surrounding.” Suzuki, “Is Buddhism Nihilistic,” 6–7.

149 Hart, Western China, 218–19.

150 Lafcadio Hearn, “The Introduction of Buddhism,” in The Buddhist Writings of Lafcadio Hearn, 263.

151 Kino, “New Application of the Old Truth,” 27–28.

152 Shaku Soyen, Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot, in Asian Religions in America, 139.

153 This new “United Buddhism” was also a “cosmopolitan one … grounded in faith and in reason, born in Asia and global in its application.” Quoted from Ketelaar, Of Heretics and Martyrs, 177.

154 Quoted from Olcott, Henry Steel, Old Diary Leaves (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1895), 169.

155 James Legge was a professor of Chinese language and literature who also worked as a missionary in China for over thirty years. He asserted that “it is difficult in China to say to what religion a man belongs, as the same person may profess two or three.” Even the emperor paid homage to both Confucius and Buddha. From Legge, James, trans., A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of His Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399–414) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1886), 7.

156 Beal, Samuel, Buddhism in China (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1884), 241, 243.

157 Beal, Buddhism in China, 250.

158 Hart, Western China, 79.

159 Hart, Western China, 149.

160 Hart, Western China, 220.

161 Morse, Glimpses of China, 147–48.

162 Kino, “A Normal Religion,” 15.

163 Cunha, J. Gerson Da, Memoir on the History of the Tooth-Relic of Ceylon; with a Preliminary Essay on the Life and System of Gautama Buddha (London: W. Thacker & Co., 1875), 24.

164 Sprague, Roger, From Western China to the Golden Gate: The Experiences of an American University Graduate in the Orient (Berkeley: Lederer, Street & Zeus Co., 1991), 122. Sprague taught at Chinese government schools in 1910, and thereafter decided to travel on his own through China. He went on to write that China was also considered to be the “do-nothing kingdom, the land where the people are wedded to the ways of their forefathers from which they will not depart.”

165 Sprague, From Western China to the Golden Gate, 126.

166 Sprague, From Western China to the Golden Gate, 126.

167 Sprague, From Western China to the Golden Gate, 123.

168 Parsons, An American Engineer in China, 15.


“Seeds for a New Life”: Modernity and the Pacific Turn in the Progressive Era

  • Constance Chen (a1)


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