Kategorie-Archiv: diary

diary entries of Franz Ferdinand

Shimonoseki to Miyajima, 6 August 1893

Prior to embarking on „Yaeyama“ I had the opportunity to meet the Japanese prime minister, the often mentioned Count Ito Hirobumi, and express my most vivid sympathies as he had arrived during the night to visit his son who was ailing due to a heavy fall. The son of the count had also been assigned to my entourage but had had the misfortune during the trip to meet us to fall down from the gangway and sustain so heavy internal injuries that our doctor who had examined the patient declared that there was only a minor chance of recovery.

To the thundering salute of all warships we took leave from Shimonoseki, while our cruiser was slowly turning until it steered Eastwards into the much praised inland sea. The Japanese inland sea, Seto-no-uji-umi, that is the sea between the straits is enclosed in the South by the islands of Kyushu ans Shikoku, in the North by the main island of Hondo and is connected to the ocean by the strait of Van der Capellen, Bungo and Linschoten. High and low tide alternate in the inland sea just like in the ocean, but the depth of the inland sea is low and often barely 20 fathoms. Extending from Shimonoseki in the West to Osaka in the East, the inland sea is namely in the middle parts covered with volcanic islands whose number is given according to Japanese sources as being in the multiple thousands.

Just after we had exited through the narrow passage of Shimonoseki, the coasts of the islands of Kyushu and Hondo left us as they retreat here sharply an surround this part of the inland sea named after the province Suwo in a wide arc.

This day displayed an inclination to show everything in the best light. Without clouds the sky was smiling upon us in a friendly blue and a fresh wind brought agreeable cool air. The slightly moving sea was enlivened by countless vehicles built in the most adventurous forms and equipped with the strangest sails out to go fishing, as fish play an important role in the diet of the Japanese people as fish composes their main meat component. After the current regulations steamships do not have to evade the surrounding boats. It is upon the latter to make way for the steamships. But this is accorded with a certain carelessness, so that we had come all too close to some junks despite the frequent use of the steam whistle until we finally rammed one which however slid alongside our board wall with crunching sounds and survived with damages to its steering and masts — a collision that made no impression on our commander who continued his journey with a smile as if nothing had happened.

After about three hours we changed course and steered towards North-east to enter into a real labyrinth of islands on this course. Driving through this jumble of islands was truly enchanting and I can confirm with my own experience that the enthusiastic reports given in travel descriptions about the natural beauties of the island sea are not exaggerated.  The larger islands with their mighty mountains that are partly bereft of woods but still form a very effective background make a very imposing impression. Many of the smaller islands that are in very fantastic forms consist of only a single gigantic rock emerging out of the sea, others are covered with hills and pointy cones. Nearly all larger islands are inhabited. At the coasts village is followed by village, one fishing village after another. Everywhere it is apparent that the inhabitants rely either on agriculture or fishing for their living. On the slopes of the hills extend well cultivated fields and on the lightly curled surface of the sea danced complete fleets of boats. Even somebody with a very audacious imagination might have trouble inventing such a scenery that surpasses in diversity, movement and impressive greatness as well as charming intimacy  what is revealed in front of our eyes here.

Even though our full attention was already taken care of, the commander of „Yaeyama“ arranged exercises that happened quite precisely and quickly with the 12 cm Armstrong guns despite the long nearly endless Japanese orders. From time to time the ship band played some music pieces, among them the inescapable overture of „Tell„, a pot-pourri from „Mignon“ and various dances from home. For all the appreciation that I am read to accord the Japanese after all that I have heard and seen, I can not keep quiet about the fact that I have enjoyed much better performances than what was produced for our ears here. Some of the presented pieces could hardly be recognized in the manner played here and the programs too had no claim to reliability as they for instance declared the opera „Carmen“ to be a creation of our waltz king Strauß.

When we changed course again to steer northwards the mountainous coast of the province Suwo lay only a few miles away on port. Following this coast and later that of the province Aki we steamed until we came into sight of the island of Miya — our destination for today. After we still crossed a very narrow passage putting some fishing boats in danger but exited without accident, we entered into the bay of Miyajima where two warships, the cruiser „Chiyoda“ and the corvette „Tenriu“, greeted the arrival of „Yaeyama“ with thunder. To my not especially pleasing surprise we could already see from afar both on land and in boat the white uniforms of the overeager policemen.

The temple island Miyajima is remarkable in comparison to the other islands of this archipelago that its up to 457 m rising heights covered with splendid closed woods. The ground of the island is holy. That is why the humans are not allowed to lay hand on the trees and also the deer enjoy an undisturbed existence, so fully tame dear run around in the midst of pedestrians and eat out of the hands of a passer-by. Despite the religious dedication that distinguishes the island it is a much visited excursion place during the summer as the charming valleys that open up towards the sea are criss-crossed by numerous pleasant trails. A never too hot temperature as well as refreshing sea and freshwater baths are other attractive reasons for a visit. The island is inhabited by about 3003 people — priests, innkeepers, fishermen and wood cutters — whose houses are situated in charming seclusion along the bay at the foot of the green hills from which splendid conifers were greeting us. A very interesting contrast to this was formed by the province Aki on the opposite shore, as the sharply falling slopes of the mountains were bare and the light colored almost gleaming white stone and debris made it seem as if the mountains were covered by snow.

Also on Miyajima I had to undergo an entrée glorieuse, an introduction I would have gladly been spared but which was inescapable as the Japanese were very keen on creating the greatest ceremonies and the fullest pomp at any opportunity. At the landing bridge the high dignitaries and notables stood in great numbers. They were presented to me and bowed deeply when I passed them Then followed a cordon of the guardians of the law, behind them there was a crowd of the people curious to see the foreign prince who, followed by his own and the Japanese entourage, walked between the lifeguard in a green uniform and the doorman with the sword. I permitted myself a small deviation from the program.  When I noticed that the distance to our residence would be quite far away and covering it at the speed of a festive procession in the high temperature as well as the fact that the path was not covered with roses but a layer of fine sand not especially agreeable I started to walk at a double quick that soon brought me to my destination but the entourage was left breathless causing general hilarity.

While the residences on Japanese soil had already found our admiration, this was by far surpassed by the charming details of this residence prepared for us here as well as its scenic surrounding, the originality of the site. The path had led us through a narrow wooded gorge. Trees many hundred years old provided agreeable shade. In the base of the gorge a small crystal clear stream was flowing, enlivened by jolly goldfish and other species of fish swimming around.  Between the trees rose rocks on which there were very charming small houses distributed apparently randomly and only owe their existence to the fancy of good taste. Each of us was assigned to his own house.

At a few spots the ripply stream has been dammed to create a miniature pond in whose midst open kiosks with verandas stand on poles. In these mats as well as plushy pillows invite to rest and dream to the murmurs of the stream. All these enchanting buildings are connected with delicate paths, stairs, runways or bridges. Here and there a bubbling source splashes between the rocks, whizzes and sprays a water fountain whose jets fall back into the caves of the hollowed out stones that are surrounded by all kinds of water and climbing plants. Everywhere there are small stone temples covered in moss — similar to the chapels and votive pillars that stand on our country roads — that are intended to hold a light in the evening in order to provide illumination like niches cut into the rock. The wonders surrounding us here have been created by true artists whose brisk fantasies have been combined with a fine sensory for the beauty of nature and emotional poetry. Our astonishment about this idyllic retreat in the woods was loudly proclaimed and we rushed around everywhere closely discovering the magic place in all its details.

The individual houses were of a colorful diversity in their site and execution so that we could not cease to be amazed about the creativity of the Japanese builders. Still each of these small master works shared a common quality of cuteness. Here too the building material was only wood, namely bamboo, straw mats and paper but the artisans had shown their rare skills in such an excellent way that the most simple means created wholesome effects for the eye. Even the furniture of the living rooms was picturesque, consistent with the laws of beauty. While the decorative art of the related tribe of the Chinese is characterised by a preference for the colorful and flashy and sometimes even blatant, the Japanese, despite all variety of colors, are distinguished by their artistic moderation, the perfect harmony and the cosy intimacy as well as a tender understanding to create life as comfortable as possible. The principles of the Japanese character, the vivid hilarity, the attractive sensuality and notable sense for beauty are displayed in all areas of life of the people and make the people and the country equally sympathetic to any stranger who sets foot on Japanese soil.

After I had said good-bye to the dignitaries and notables who had escorted me and taken possession of our small house, I took a stroll in the neighborhood of my residence.

Miyajima is thanks to its famous temple a place of pilgrimage, a sort of Mariazell of Southern Japan; like in the proximity of our church of mercy there are in the area of the temple countless shops and stalls that sell souvenirs about the holy island to the pilgrims. These objects are mostly expert carvings or pictures of the settlement on the island, the temple, the deer etc. available for an almost ridiculous low price, a circumstance which might be explained that the island is still outside of the great tourist routes and the inhabitants are not yet spoiled by visiting Englishmen and Americans. In these shops I bought whole wagon loads of pretty objects especially small tables, vases and all kinds of copies of crippled wood, toys and hundreds of other things.

The government had also, by the way, made great efforts to make the enlargement of my collection as easy as possible. In one building whose rooms otherwise are used for pedagogical purposes they had arranged a formal display of the products of Japanese art industry which overall contained about the same objects sold in the shops but cost three times the price thanks to the official intervention. I limited my purchases there to an ancient Japanese suit of armor besides the matching grotesque mask with its martial moustache.

Climbing a steep stairs I arrived in a large temple-like hall built out of wood which is situated on a hill and had been constructed by Taiko-sama, the marshal and regent of the empire who had started out as a groom, in the spot where he had given orders in 1591 before the departure of the Japanese army under the generals Konishi Jukinaga and Kato Kiyomasa to the conquest of Korea. This hall in which the Taiko-sama is said to have held great festive banquets is decorated with large votive pictures hanging on the walls. The wood carvings on a pagoda constructed not far from the hall shows the honorable signs of old age.  A few steps above these buildings and near of a monument dedicated to a fallen soldier, on the dominant point of the island, I enjoyed the attractive panoramic view of the lovely Miyajima.

Dinner we ate to the sounds of two music bands in one of the pond kiosks. In that unusual dinning room there was very agreeable temperature so that it would be desirable that also in our country similarly built and situated rooms could be used for the same purpose during the summer months  if the mosquitoes permit this as they were noticeably disturbing the comfortable dinner at Miyajima. The dinner was attended, among other personalities, by the division commander of Hiroshima with a very vivid and jovial temperament as well as an admiral who had come from the port city of Kure — two gentlemen with whom I had a very inspiring conversation. The messages of the admiral strengthened my conclusion that the Japanese were carefully planning to expand their navy, a circumstance that not the least is shown by the excellent performance of the Imperial navy cadet school that had been set up on the island of Eta close to Kure.

The famous temple of the island, a Shinto shrine, we visited during the evening. Shintoism and Buddhism are both heathen religious systems practised by the Japanese population. Buddhism, currently split into seven main sects and devoted to the most crass idol veneration, is the actual religion of the people while the upper classes of society now are mostly religiously indifferent or lapsed into atheism. Beside the two religions noted the doctrine of Confucius has also taken hold. It has not penetrated very deeply but it has influenced many of the better educated classes and greatly namely the samurai of earlier times.

The Shintoism intends felicity during the mundane life and presumes that the spirits of the deceased assist in the achievement of this goal. That is way the believer clamp their hands and ring to call them. Characteristic for Shintoism or the Kami doctrine are the adoration of famous men as gods besides a multitude of gods apparently in the millions who are led by the sun queen Amaterasu. An apparent descendant of the latter, the Jimmu Tenno (660 to 585 BC), is the founder of the Japanese Empire and the ancestor of the Imperial House so that the respective Emperor of Japan is venerated as a son of heaven and thus as a god. To Shintoism actual dogmatic and ethical principles are alien but a well established ritual and a developed liturgy exist. Like Buddhism, Shintoism could not keep its original purity but has been influenced by the former in many ways.

It is interesting to note that at the beginning of the new era in 1868, the government tried to displace Buddhism in favor of Shintoism. This effort is explained by the understandable interest that the Emperor, or to use the more common title, the Mikado, has in this religion that connects him with the founder of the Empire as well as Heaven and thus must have been seen as suitable to strengthen the Imperial power restored by the great reform movement. In the year 1876, by the way, freedom of religion was declared and from this principle Christendom has profited too. At least Roman-Catholic bishops have been installed in Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kyoto and in Sandani a few years ago.

The temple on the island apparently built already in the 6th or 7th century and dedicated to received its form in the 12th century by Kiyomori which made it famous as a building in Western Japan. As a Shinto shrine the temple, that the Kannuschi, that is the Shinto priests, had illuminated in our honor even if only sparsely, is characterised by tall gallows-like portals called Torii that stand on poles and are attached to the sides.  The temple contains a multitude of rooms for the sanctuaries and connecting paths.

We were not allowed to enter into the actual temple rooms but we could at least take a look without seeing much that was remarkable beyond candle holders and images. In the center of the main temple one could see some kind of pedestal which was intended for festive processions on high holy days and flanked by two bronze dragons, true  metal master works. Strangely formed tall bronze vases I had noticed already at the temple entrance.

The priests clad in white silk clothes and equipped with strange headdresses reminding of a bishop’s escorted us and showed us in two chambers all the objects instruments used for their divine services, and among many other things also splendid cloth that would make many of our ladies envious, furthermore grotesque masks and various swords some of which of a bulky length of 4,5 m and probably are only demonstration objects for certain ceremonies.

The temple on Miyajima shows in its sumptuous decoration already the consequence of an important Buddhist influence, as a pure Shinto temple is distinguished by its simplicity and especially by its absence of metal decorations or lacquer ornaments. Also its symbols are restricted to a round metal mirror as an image of god’s splendor, the Gohei, a paper affixed to a small wooden stick of which it is assumed that the spirit of the god will sit down and a gemstone or crystal ball as a sign of purity and power of god.

The large number of hanging votive pictures, some of which have considerable artistic merit and are very old, in a gallery of the temple is remarkable. Some of those have been created by the hands of famous masters. We met here a great variety of illustrations with all kinds of good and bad gods and spirits,  some of which with grotesque faces, monkeys, deer as well as other animals and in a colorful mix scenes from life, partly painted, partly carved, partly in-laid.

Even though it had already been considerably late at night, we still were sitting around, clad in Kimonos, at one of the pond kiosks, smoking, chatting and sipping champaign enjoying the surrounding nature whose charms caused us to loudly lament the shortness of the stay in Miyajima allocated by the program.

Finally we took a cooling bath in the waves of the stream by jumping straight from the veranda of the kiosk into the water and happily splashed around in it under the shine of red lampions.


  • Location: Miyajima, Japan
  • ANNO – on 06.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Cavalleria rusticana“.

Kumamoto, 5 August 1893

Soon after the break of dawn I fell into the hands of a barber who did complete his task in a very delicate manner with a great number of tiny knives but who put my patience to a hard test.

In the phaeton guided by Sannomiya we drove, in suffocating heat despite the early morning hour, to Kumamoto castle where I was received by prince Yoshihisa.

The city of Kumamoto, capital of the department of the same name comprising the provinces of Higo and Chikugo and after the census of 1891 counting more than 54.000 inhabitants, is situated at the river Shiragawa, about 6 km upstream from the mouth of that river, and was destroyed by a fire in the year 1877 as well as severely damaged by a later earthquake. Newly rebuilt in part, the city’s structures offer a very regulated impression and are characterised by wide clean roads with planted trees. The houses are very small and equipped with characteristic roofs. They allow everybody an unrestricted view into the interior of the house as well as the family life. Apart from the tea houses and palaces of rich owners, The shops lining the streets are filled with vast quantities of original objects.

The castle was built by Kato Kiyomasa, one of the senior general of Japan’s war against Korea (1592) but was like the park destroyed so that today the wide area is occupied by a large number of military buildings, barracks, stables, magazines, ammunition depots etc. The extremely high walls formed out of huge rocks and the deep moats that can be detected despite their having been filled-in are remarkable. Even in the interior the fortress is criss-crossed by walls that are punctuated by gates. Today the walls are not in a condition to act as a defense. The former stronghold could not withstand a siege supported by modern guns all the more so as the higher surrounding hills are not protected by forts or batteries. Currently therefore the castle has no role as a fortress even though it still fulfilled its purpose in the year 1877.

During the Satsuma uprising a garrison commanded by General Tani, and reinforced by part of the garrison of Kokura,  that consisted of an infantry regiment, four batteries of field artillery, one company of engineers and two companies from Fukuoka, in total about 3000 men,  resisted for 52 days against the rebels who besieged the castle with about 16.000 men. At that time the city quarter close to the fortress was fully burned down by the garrison in order to have a sufficiently open field of fire.

The path that leads up to the command post at the highest point on the hill passes through all the former defensive works and is notable by its steepness so that finally the horses pulling the phaeton completely refused to go on. They did no longer pull which caused the wagon to fall back and caused Sannomiya much embarrassment. He beat the horses, tore forcefully at the sharp poles and expressed his displeasure with swearwords that he took alternating from German and Japanese. This did however not improve the matter and the journey could only be continued after some runners rushed in and rescued us by pushing the wagon by its wheels upward.

Prince Yoshihisa received us most obligingly in the not really large but comfortable apartments and showed me a picture of the former fortress which he presented to me as well as three charming porcelain figures of high artistic value. From a bastion in front of the house where some old guns were waiting to be decommissioned, we enjoyed a panoramic view open to all  sides on the castle, the long-winded city at its foot and its surrounding area.

Using maps and lists of dates the prince gave me a very interesting account of the rebellion of 1877, in which, as stated, Kumamoto had played an important role. This Satsuma rebellion that was only put down after seven months proved to be a severe test which the modernised Japan had to pass. The soul behind the dangerous movement  was General Saigo Kichinosuke who deserved much credit for the restoration of power of the mikado  but had retired to his home since 1873. Sulking and unhappy, Saigo founded private schools for samurai with like-minded friends in Satsuma. They were educated in Chinese literature and instructed in military exercises. In time the number of these samurai grew to 30.000, who formed an army blindly devoted to Saigo.

In January 1877 the long prepared movement broke out and Saigo marched at the head of 14.000 rebels whose numbers considerably increased by new arrivals on Kumamoto. It was besieged by a part of the rebels while about 9000 men went Northwards towards the Imperial troops approaching from Kokura led by Arisugawa-no-miya. The rebels were soon beaten at Tawarasaka and the siege of Kumamoto had to be lifted. After a number of smaller battles the strongholds of the rebels, the cities of Miyakonocho and Nobeoka, fell into the hands of the Imperial troops which however did not prevent Saigo to capture Kagoshima at the head of 500 faithful and take the ample stocks assembled there. Already on 24 September Saigo and his small band were surrounded on Shira mountain near Kagoshima by 15.000 men of Imperial troops. The brave rebels soon were killed or captured. Saigo died by the hand of one of his companions named Beppu who cut off his head and so provided his leader with a last friendly deed. Himself he killed by committing Harakiri, that is the ritual slitting open of the belly.

On the bastion tents had been set up in which cooling drinks and frozen treats were served and the native adjutants fanned cool air towards us — a common local and very welcome use of these officials given the tropical heat. The view of the city that presented itself, the smiling landscape, the surrounding mountain ranges as well as the fortress were incredibly picturesque and all the more attractive the longer the viewer absorbs the impression of the scenic image. About 100 m distant from the bastion rise the last remains of the earlier art of fortification, a tall pagoda-like tower made out of wood that has probably been left standing as a historic landmark and now is used as an observation platform. Climbing the three floors on the steep wooden staircase of the tower we looked down from its vertiginous height. As images show, all walls and protruding edges carried such towers in the good old times when powder was unknown and shooting weapons were restricted to bow and arrow. The important number of such towers must have given a very strange appearance to a fortress.

From a lofty height we could survey the imposing extent of the castle and the number of buildings that had been constructed. Apart from the remains of the former fortifications, there lay the barracks of the 13th and 23rd infantry regiments built in the modern pattern, that is according to the pavilion system and equipped with spacious courtyards where troop formations performed platoon and company exercises in their summer uniforms. At some distance are the cavalry and artillery barracks whereas especially the former one with its trooper pavilion, the long troop stables, the smithies and the quarantine stations resembled a home cavalry barrack and really looked almost nostalgic to a former commander of a cavalry regiment.

Even though a visit of the cavalry barracks was not on the program, I asked the prince to visit this military institution given my understandable interest for my own branch of service. I also asked to see a mounted formation perform exercises. I had no reason to regret the fulfilment of these wishes. What I was presented astonished me in fact justly.

As the formation of cavalry in the European manner has only happened recently, the achieved results must be called rather excellent. Even though there are still some defects that can not be denied, still my expectations were surpassed by far. According to the organization of the Japanese cavalry it was set to consist of 6 battalions of the line at 3 squadrons each and 1 guard battalion of 2 squadrons. Each battalion of the line had a total strength of 497 men and 459 horses.

The stables that offered space for two troops each are built out of wood and very airy. In the stall there is no permanent straw. The appearance of the horses, even though some are well nourished and have glossy hair, in general leaves much to be desired. Some of the animals are much too meager and a great number had saddle sores. Remarkably many were stallions. The feed provided three times per day consists of barley and rather bad reedy hay. The army command has replaced the saddle in use with a new one built according to a German model but it did not look practical to me which also applied to the newly introduced string belts. The storage packs are at the rear, the coat and two small bags that contain each two magazines with three bullets each. are carried in front tied to the horn. Earlier the bit was very similar to ours, which was true for all horse gear, but was replaced recently by an English bit with very long lower parts which in my opinion offers no advantage. Completely unusable are the much too thin grass green saddle blankets, folded eight times, that are probably the reason of the numerous and often quite considerable saddle sores.

The troop rooms are covered with wood and are airy and cleanly kept. I noticed the large number of uniforms and shoes with which the soldiers are equipped. Each man has besides the parade and exercise uniform, a summer uniform and three to four striped jackets, a very comfortable piece of clothing. On boards that are fixed above the sleeping places there are everywhere nice tea bowls. The troopers who look well and strong are fed three meals per day which consists mostly out of rice, the national dish, and sufficient complements of fish or meat.

As far as the arms of the cavalryman are concerned I noticed that the saber’s blade was slim and thin while the hilt offered little flexibility so that the weapon nearly gave the impression of being made for children. The carbine is not held by belt as it our practice and bounces around on the back of the trooper at any movement. The revolver of the NCOs are easy to handle and much more practical weapons than those we use.

While we were inspecting the rooms of the barracks, a mounted troop of 14 pairs had assembled in the large courtyard upon the order of the commander who made a fine military impression. This troop performed all evolutions of troop exercises in every gait. It completely resembled the movements of the cavalry troops of our army because the German had taken the German regulations as their prototype which in turn was formed after our own regulations, with the exception that at the reception the troops salute too with the saber held high holding the hilt in front of the face.

All movements, turns, pulls, deployments and departures in pairs or fours were performed quietly. At the end of the exercise the troopers rode individually in circles which allowed us to precisely judge the quality of each horse and rider. The Japanese government had bought a couple of years ago some Hungarian studs and sent them to different areas of the country. The products of these ancestors form the cavalry horse of the Japanese army today which at the first glance reveals its Hungarian blood. The choice of the studs, however, does not have been a happy one as the descendants had a faulty, too short neck with a very pronounced lower jaw and sometimes bad backs while the legs mostly looked very good.  I would classify the presented animals as equal to our transportation horses of a minor quality. The horses of the Japanese cavalry are bought at the surprisingly low price of just below 200 fl. in our currency per piece and directly trained by the troop if they are not supplied by remounts from the government foal breeding farms.

The riding of the troopers still left much to be desired according to our standards. Not the leas due to the requirement for the rider to hold his fist very high because the coat and the bags with the ammunition had been packed in front of him. This causes a rather uneasy lead. The people in general treated their rarely ridden horses harshly despite the very sharp horse gear with a stiff lower jaw. In contrast, the troopers have a smooth good seat and I believe that a troop such as the one we inspected with its natural ability and the good will of the people could be taught in a short time by an instructor educated in European methods to achieve full parity with a good European cavalry regiment.

In any case I have experienced continental cavalry formations exercise that performed far worse than the presented Japanese troop to whose honor I have to insist that the inspection was in no way planned but improvised so that they could not train the exercises beforehand as this is said to be the case elsewhere. With words of true praise and heartfelt thanks I left the barracks, congratulating the brave colonel about the performance of his troop, not without regretting that the short time frame did not permit to inspect the infantry and artillery.

Prince Yoshihisa led us to a park not fully 2 km distant from the city called Suisenji which was once the garden of the country retreat of the Hosokawa family. The Japanese are justly quite proud about this park that serves as a place for excursions. It is really a sightseeing spot of a very strange kind as it is typical for the Japanese art of gardening. It gives the impression as if one had taken small trees, bushes, flowers, hills, rocks, ponds and pools out of a toy box and tastefully arranged them in groups and colorful stops in order to create a garden installation in the most delicate dimension.

While there had been large crowds on both sides of the road, there was an army of dignitaries at the entrance of the park. The most prominent were introduced to me while the rest formed a well organized cordon through which we walked to arrive at a hut decorated with flags and flowers where refreshments and tea was served. The latter was offered in the manner the Japanese like to drink it that is as a bitter tasting green broth that resembled a garden sorrel sauce which I did not like at all.

Japan almost only produces green tea and for the cultivation of the tea bush are allocated only areas in the plains or on gently sloping grounds. The best qualities of the Japanese tea, powder or pearl tea is almost completely consumed by the country itself while in general only tea from leaves of minor quality are exported. While we were trying to paralyze the oppressive heat by the consummation of refreshing drinks, a brilliant daylight firework was ignited.

The smartly profit-oriented merchants of Kumamoto had set up an exhibition of all kinds of Japanese artistic and industrial products not far from the park in an open theater in order to tempt us. As there were splendid things, exquisite objects made out of bronze, lacquer paintings, artistically formed and worked objects made out of bamboo, porcelain, silk and namely armor as well as weapons, among them especially artistically decorated swords are worth a mention.  The prices demanded were enormous. Still out of honor I had to make some acquisitions which seemed to cause quite some entertainment for my princely cousin.

A breakfast served in our small house attended by some higher officers of the garrison completed our stay in Kumamoto. The friendly prince Yoshihisa accompanied us to the station through a cordon of troops where we left under the thunder of the gun in a special court train on the line of the Kyushu railway that connects the island of Kyushu from Kumamoto in a Northern direction to the terminal station of Moji.

This railway line stops at some larger places such as Kurume, earlier the residence of the daimyo of Arima and now the capital of the province of Chikugo. Then the win city of Hakata-Fukuoka divided by the river Naka. The former is the harbor of the latter and formerly contained the business quarter while Fukuoka served as a garrison quarter with houses for the many thousands of samurai and now is the capital of the province of Chikusen. Finally just shortly before the terminal stop is Kokura, the capital of the province Busen. The railway soon turns to the West and then continues for some time alongside the coast and then to the North only to turn from Hakata in a large curve to the East and North-east to Moji.

Not only in the stations of the larger villages but also on all the smaller stations and even where the train did not stop great crowds had turned out led by governors, commanders and other dignitaries of all categories to greet me. I did not attend, however, the planned receptions and speeches of the stops in order to enjoy the peace by pretending to sleep so that the visiting dignitaries were reduced to only drop of their cartes de visite in the wagon.

Alongside all the tracks there were measures taken by the police to guarantee our protection. Even in places where the track passed a road stood a saluting guard fully aware about his dignity and importance. I may, I believe, say with justice that Japan has never before seen such a police deployment in such a limited space and I have never in my life felt to be under so much supervision as here.

The special train was not exactly flying by on the narrow gauge track so that it was a real pleasure to stand on the platform of the wagon and observe the cheerful scenery. The character of the country is harmonically suited to their happy polite inhabitants even though it could also be said that the inhabitants had conformed themselves to the character of the landscape. Everywhere there were friendly valleys opening up and numerous small villages peeped out of the lush green. Mountains and hills are in many places heavily stocked with coniferes below which dense bamboo bushes are growing. Unfortunately there are also important areas which had been completely deforested which is no wonder given the intense demand for wood in this country. In these places grows a  weed-like bamboo. Now and then one could see quite suddenly rising hills of a semI-spherical shape emerge out of the plains on which grew rich vegetation among which aventurously twisted pines were common that we had already seen in many Japanese gardens in natura and on lacquered boxes, vases etc. in more or less successful reproductions.

At Kokura where the railway comes very close to the sea, we greeted the sea colorfully illuminated by the setting sun. Out of its depths the mirror images of the golden mountain tops were gleaming. Hundreds of snow-white egrets were escorting us in a long line.

At the terminal stop of Moji a festive reception was awaiting me. Three Japanese warships were moored there: „Yaeyama“, „Takao“ and „Manchu“ fired the gun and board salute despite the fact that the sun had already set. Moji, which actually forms a single harbor with Shimonoseki on the opposite shore, is a newer urban settlement whose growth dates only back to 1891, as since that year the Kyushu railway ended there. In a barge we crossed the one mile wide strait of Van der Capellen or Shimonoseki. After a short journey we landed in Shimonoseki and thus at the South-western-most point of the large island of Hondo. As much as I could distinguish during the dusk, we had set foot in a very charming spot on earth. In the North of the harbor city rise steep but not high wooden hill ranges that provide cover against the raw Northern winds and thus in combination with the Southern orientation of Shimonoseki ensure a very favorable local climate.

Sanyodo — that is the area on the sunny side of the mountain — is the name of the landscape in whose province Choshiu the city of Shimonoseki is located which actually only consists of an about 3 km long road. We walked through a cordon constituted out of a battalion of fortress artillery to the house assigned to us that was dominating the harbor in which the same niceties, the same local comforts were offered as in the other Japanese houses that we had seen earlier.

The entrance to the strait is strongly fortified. Already above Kokura begin the fortifications consisting of seven forts equipped with modern batteries which continue by the island of Hiki to Shimonoseki. These fortifications are the fruits of the experiences the Japanese made in 1864. In that year Shimonoseki was, despite the brave Japanese resistance, completely shot up by a fleet composed of English, French, Dutch ships and a single warship of the United States of America, so that the daimyo of Choshiu had to ask for peace and pay an indemnity of nearly 7,500.000 fl. in Austrian currency. This act of violence had been caused by the said daimyo who had started to fire on all foreign ships that tried to pass through the strait of Shimonoseki.

After the dinner at which I sat between two mute government officials as they only were able to speak Japanese an illuminated fishing trip in the sea was set to happen. In a large transport boat we drove alongside the festively illuminated city close to the shore until we reached a spot where about 50 fishing boats had assembled. Each of it carried at the fore a flash-light of lighter wood. The principle of catching fish here as apparently of the same kind as our brave boatswain Zamberlin used at Owa raha with the difference that the fish here were not staked by Zamberlin but instead caught in small scooping nets or more correctly intended to be caught. A large number of dignitaries had escorted us whose puffing barges driving up and down may have enlivening the image but disturbed the water very strongly and thus made all sea animals flee out of the surrounding area. An eel-like fish as well as a clueless squid formed our only catch. This, however, proved sufficient to witness the skill of the fishermen. They discovered their catch already at great depth an caught it fast as lightning in their net.


  • Location: Shimonoseki, Japan
  • ANNO – on 05.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Nagasaki to Kumamoto, 4 August 1893

Conforming to the program that had been fixed by the Japanese I transferred to the torpedo cruiser „Yaeyama„. Saying good-bye to „Elisabeth“ was quite difficult, even it was just for a short time for now, and was a prelude to the upcoming complete separation in Yokohama. My heart hurt when I had to depart from our ship. The gun and board salute was performed and the „Hurrahs“ of our brave sailors followed me and reverberated for a long time in my soul.

On board of „Yaeyama“ a large reception took place as I was received by the governor, the Japanese admiral and all ship commanders, the Japanese entourage and a large number of dignitaries, while the navy music band in flashy red uniforms played our anthem. The hoisting of the standard on the main ma. st was greeted by all ships with a grand flag gala and 21 shots so that the harbor of Nagasaki soon was engulfed in dense smoke. As soon as we had hoisted the anchor, the gun and board salute was repeated but the „Hurrahs“ of the smaller Japanese sailors sounded not as loud as the roaring from the mighty lungs of our sailors. We exited under a clear sky through the winding entrance in s form, past the island of the Popists‘ Mountain, to Misumi.

A torpedo boat escorted us. It was joined just after we had left the bay by a suddenly appearing splendid cruiser that was roaring under the thunder of its guns. Being of a similar type as „Elisabeth“ but at a smaller scale it followed us in our wake. Outside of the bay we found a high rough sea which kicked around „Yaeyama“ so much that it began to pitch up to 32° in both directions. This cruiser constructed in Japan is very long and relatively narrow which causes the heavy pitching movements. High and rough sea could prove quite disagreeable for the ships of this construction. A consequence of the heavy pitching was that by and by the Japanese entourage and all court officials disappeared below deck, stricken by sea sickness, and tables, chairs and lounges on the afterdeck started to dance around and finally turned over and were pushed from side to side.

Overtaken by the desire to sleep I went to my cabin in front of which a lifeguard in full gala uniform assigned to me by the Emperor was keeping watch to my no little surprise that made me happy. One hand was on the grip of his sword with which he could immediately execute a deadly strike. This lifeguard proved to be in time a very splendid fellow who gained my full sympathy during the journey even though we were unable to speak a single word with each other.

Small, rather stout and distinguished by his crooked legs he wore a light-green uniform with canary yellow lapels while a tall assault helmet completed the theatric appearance. A wide sash made out of black lacquered leather that my lifeguard had audaciously slung over his body had decorations of considerable size of arrows and bows in front and back which probably acted as symbols for his service but for us gave more an impression of Amor as one is used to see Japan as a country of freer love.

Our journey went in a Southern direction, then turning East around the Southern promontory of Nomozaki of the Hizen peninsula, between the peninsula of Shimbara on port and the islands of Amakusa and Kami on starboard towards Misumi, a small port. For three hours we had endured a very ungentle pitch until we arrived between the green islands where the water was much calmer. In front of Misumi a gun salute again reverberated as the cruiser „Takachiho“ who had escorted us was returning to Nagasaki, while the gunboat „Chokai“ appeared out of a side bay.

On a barge that was filled with a large number of persons who had come to greet me — among them the adjutant of Prince Joshihisa from the princely house of Kita Shirakawa related to the Imperial family — we went on land where a huge crowd awaited our arrival, energetically kept in check  by the police. All of Misumi carried flags. In front of every house flew the characteristic white flag with the red circle of Japan that represented the sun in a white field.

Totally new for me were the „daylight fireworks“ ignited to my honor. They consisted of rockets that were slung into the air by a mortar and there exploded in a strong detonation and then scattered a large number of colorful balloons, pennants, parachutes and long bands. All these objects of which some showed our black-yellow or the Japanese colors sank slowly down to earth or were carried away by the wind or were fluttering in the air which produced a very charming impression.

The journey of about 42 km to Kumamoto was to be covered in court djinn rickshaws whose runners were all dressed in the same way. They wore wide blue blouses and white pants that ended above the knee so that the knees and the calves remained bare, while the feet were protected by short stockings. The headdress was formed by white straw hats. My vehicle had three runners assigned. One was running in the fork while the other two in front drew  thin tows. The performance of the rickshaw runners is phenomenal. Despite the oppressing heat and the fact that the journey went soon uphill and soon downhill and at times was freshly metaled, our runners covered the journey to Kumamoto at the double quick in only 5,5 hours with just two short breaks. One of the gentlemen of my entourage who had recently made a trip into the interior of the country told me that he had covered a distance of about 120 km in 18 hours with only a single djinn rickshaw runner!

Right beyond Misumi the journey ascends mightily leading alongside the sea shore on a mountain ledge. Later the landscape opens up and the road enters an area, after we had crossed a small stream,  that is full of charming sights. The whole area is most industriously cultivated. Not even the smallest spot remains bare and unused. The plain is very well irrigated and mostly assigned to rice cultivation but also on the ledges of the hills and mountains one can see the characteristic lines of the stepped terraces one above the other for cultivating rice. The eye looks pleasingly only upon green in many hues in all directions from the dark of the earnest cypress groves to the light colors of the fair bamboo bushes.

The impressions I made during the journey to Kumamoto already demonstrate the density of the settlements in Japan. Wherever we went, we saw houses, villages and small cities everywhere. The houses in the countryside and the towns show only small differences. They are one or two story high, very light and simple, not to say poor, mostly made out of wood whose interior is distinguished by its great cleanliness and order. The roof is either made out of strangely curvy bricks, so called „pockets?“ („Taschen“), or out of wood, and even often out of straw but always very carefully constructed.

When we approached the people rushed out of their houses and mingled in the road whereas especially the female element distinguished itself by curiosity, which is, by the way, also said to be the case in our home country.  Among the Japanese women who were smiling friendly towards us and greeted us gaily we could observe many who had a very delicately cut very attractive small face. Also from the fields men and women ran to the road we were passing and gesticulated vividly towards me or more probably at my native lifeguard who received the acknowledgements of the people with a stoic calm under his great plume of feathers.

In front of the cavalcade drove two police officials, then I followed in my djinn rickshaw flanked by the lifeguard on one side and a court servant on the other — whose usual profession must be that of a doorman. The latter had covered his physiognomy with earnest frowns and held a mighty sword in his hands, carrying it in front of him to be ready to strike at any moment. During the five hour drive the man kept a straight face for the complete drive. Behind me followed the Japanese entourage, followed by the gentlemen from my home country. The tail was formed by an army of officials, domestic officers and servants.

Our drive had a distinctive police character as the government had taken great security arrangements as if we had to be protected from the worst attacks. The road was secured by policemen, each bridge was under guard and wherever a group of humans had formed there was a policeman too — to say nothing about the numerous detectives who were placed among the crowds in the places that we passed through.  Used to fortunately move freely in my home country, without any precautions for my personal safety, I found the police apparatus quite strange and not really agreeable but it can be explained by the heinous assassination attempt of the Tsesarevich made by — a special twist of fate — a guard. In part, the police force might also have been put on display in such a formidable way to allow me to form an opinion about the excellently organized Japanese police that was modelled on the European pattern. The police only has to act a bit less conspicuous and calmer to be fully equal to their European model. Given the eagerness of the police I realized that I would be constantly observed like a prisoner by a hundred eyes and could never go anywhere incognito!

After a long time the runners were refreshed by a supply of fresh water which was held ready in a row of buckets at the side of the road. Quickly the runners took a few long gulps and then they continued without any stop until we reached a charming village in a very picturesque place where we made a break for a quarter of an hour. In front of a small Shinto temple, in the shadow of gorgeous trees, servants offered refreshments, sent here by the care of the mikado, while the rickshaw runners rested for a short time. Unfortunately the place was closed off with some sort of net and dark cloth soo that the people were unable to approach more closely and only a few dignitaries in European dress were allowed in. Apparently the enclosure of the space was intended to prevent assassinations but this was not entertaining.

Soon we continued our rickshaw drive across a very lovely landscape and numerous villages at whose entrance the dignitaries and not rarely the fire brigade were greeting us. The latter can be identified by their blue blouses with a white sign. The girls working in the field wore a dress that reminded me of those used in the region of Hermagor in Carinthia. The industrious workers wore a short skirt that reached only to above the knee and  short calf stockings made from blue wool. The knees and the feet were bare and a white headcloth was intended to protect from the glowing rays of the sun.

Between the rice fields there are numerous ponds and pools that are used for irrigation but are in no way as dirty and neglected as similar water containers in India but kept in good condition and mostly overgrown with the most beautiful blooming lotus plants. Already here one can see the importance of the cultivation of rice in Japan, the main agricultural production activity.  The preponderance of this cultivation is as characteristic for the Japanese landscape as the heavy splitting of the ground which has given rise to tiny parcels and garden-like field productions. As the cultivation of rice excludes the use of draft animals and the smaller fields dedicated to other cultivations can easily be worked by humans alone, it explains why Japanese agriculture does mostly not use cattle. In fact horses and cattle are used mostly as beasts of burden. The former mostly for riding and only rarely for drawing plows or carriages. Cows are rarely used for dairy production.

After a further two hours drive there was again a short rest, namely at a hut which was equipped with gold decorated moving walls and contained a pompuous chair below lotus flowers on which I sat down and sitting like Buddha, sipped an icy lemonade, while the Japanese courtiers grouped themselves around me in a semi circle bowing incessantly.

Towards 6 o’clock in the evening we were approaching, already feeling a bit „run over“ but still enchanted by the scenery of the area we had passed through, the city of Kumamoto, at whose entrance we could detect from afar a huge crowd and a squadron of husars which presented their arms to the sounds of the Japanese general march. The number of policemen organized for our protection had been increased considerably. I drove to the unimposing small palace in which prince Yoshihisa is living and commands the sixth army division here. I entered into the palace led by Sannomiya and greeted by the owner at its gate.

The prince himself is stocky and has a dark skin color. The sharply hooked nose of an eagle, the pitch-black flashing eyes, the bushy eyebrows and the thick mustache give his physiognomy an energetic appearance. Joshihisa speaks German and French rather well. He learned these languages during his stay in Europe during the years between 1870 and 1877. In 1868 prince Joshihisa had to play a political role against his will during the struggle for the restoration of the worldly power of the mikado. According to an old law the prince of the Imperial house occupies the position of the dignity of a high priest of a temple, namely that of Toyeisan at Ujeno in the North of Edo but was captured by the rebels and proclaimed by them as their mikado in that function he was at the mercy of the rebels without power and will. After the crushing of the rebellion he had been pardoned and sent to Europe.

After the presentation of both entourages we drank lemonade and exchanged the usual salutations. I then together with the prince mounted on an especially high phaethon that Yoshihisa himself led to our residence, while three men ran alongside and guided the horses. Half a squadron cantered in front of our wagon, followed by the caravan of the djinn rickshaws. The other half squadron formed the tail of the formation.

In the streets the complete garrison of Kumamoto was standing in formation on both sides. On the reception wing the unassigned officers had taken up their position followed by the soldiers, first the 13th and 23rd infantry regiments. The Japanese army is completely dressed according to the French pattern. The infantry that had been turned out for parade wore blue coats with red lapes and badges on which one could identify the regimental number and red baggy pants. The headdress was a leather shako of a rather displeasing form. The soldiers are armed with a breech-loading rifle produced in Japan, System Murata, 11 mm caliber, that was intended to be soon replaced by a repeating rifle with a caliber of 8 mm. Saber bayonets and knapsacks, the latter reminded me of our old model, completed the equipment. As an exercise uniform, used for practice especially during the summer, a white linen dress and a flat cap in Prussian style are used. The officers salute by lowering and extending the saber sideways while the soldiers present arms — a rifle grip that unfortunately is no longer in favor in our army because of inexplicable reasons.

The cavalry whose appearance and horses were not displeasing to me is too colorfully almost flashy dressed as it combined dark blue attilas with yellow lace and red pants with wide green pants stripes. They are armed with carbines of the system Murata and carry sabers. The artillery whose uniforms are predominately blue and yellow carries breech-loading guns cast in Japan made out of bronze with a caliber of  7,5 cm. The horse teams looked quite well as far as I could notice and was quite even, consisting mostly of stallions.

Also a mounted train detachment had taken up position. The blue lapels on the coats of the soldiers reminded me vividly of the those introduced at home. They were a stark contrast to the light green horse blankets. A detachment of engineers that was noticed by its equipment attached to their knapsacks and their amaranth red lapels completed the formation. Overall the troops of all arms made a very good impression on me.

Prince Yoshihisa paid a short visit to our residence and invited me to dinner which was to take place at 8 o’clock in the evening in the festive halls of the Kumamoto club.

The government had equipped a charming tea house for our stay. During the entrance I had to comply with the local custom of taking off the shoes — a custom that is at times quite annoying but understandable in view to the cleanliness of the interior in every Japanese house and the fine mats that cover the ground in all rooms. The residence was completely built in the original Japanese style and equipped in the manner we had already seen in Nagasaki from the street and in the tea house. We could now repeat and intensify these studies at a much closer distance. To honor our customs and as a sign of special luxury the rooms formed by the movable walls were equipped with various pieces of furniture of European style as well as with beds. But we decided to sleep on mats in the local manner. In order to achieve a refreshing temperature in the rooms, the government had arranged ice blocks carried from the Northern provinces of Japan. These ice blocks lay in beautifully formed vases and bronze buckets in the corners of the rooms. A veranda lead around the residence and offered a pretty view upon the small garden as well as the moat that had been planted with blooming flowers.

The Japanese are masters in decorating their homes with verandas and paths the latter forming real mazes and provide a very strange attraction unfamiliar to us. Thus the house made a very idyllic impression which however was negatively affected in the evening by one of the modern cultural achievements, namely electric lights that did not fit to its surrounding area at all and in the least to the veranda with its arranged numerous ancient Japanese lampions.

Fearing that the cooking whose products we would have to taste during the dinner would not be much to our liking, I ate a complete dinner as a precaution and refreshed myself in an ice-water bath, then drove  through the clearly illuminated streets by lampions to the Kumamoto club, where I was received by prince Yoshihisa at the head of the generals and unit commanders and then led into the garden basked in the blinding light of countless lampions.

The Japanese are true masters in the art of illumination as they produce marvelous effects with the most simple means. Here they used only small red lampions that followed the contours of the trees, bushes and rocks so that a fiery line was formed in apparently completely natural turns and twists that however were still based on the artificial distribution and grouping of illumination tools. These were mirrored a hundred times in small ponds and streams which made the dark garden extremely lively as it was criss-crossed by a fiery web.

The dinner took place in a spacious open hall on the first floor of the club house that had been laid out with white mats. Opposite the entrance hung splendid Kakemonos, scroll paintings, below which the prince and I had been set up in the seats of honor while the other guests were seated in long rows on both sides. On small leather cushions, nearly squatting on our heels we sat down. Then the chief lord steward and the adjutant of the prince threw themselves down on the floor in front of him and me, touched the floor with their front and asked whether the dinner might start. This way of starting a dinner was completely new to me and involuntarily made me smile, as this extraordinary ceremony was not without drastic comic effects caused by the stockiness of the lord steward and the visible effort that produced a groan. The dignitaries stood up again, the chief lord steward clapped his hands and soon appeared pairs of pretty girls in the entrance of the doors. They were wearing valuable kimonos with gorgeously stitched obi and carried in front of them Tabako-bons with the Hi-rei, a vessel for glowing coals, as well as Hai-fuki, a bamboo ash tray.

Walking up to the middle of the hall in small steps, the girls squatted and touched the ground with their heads and then slid on their knees towards the individual guests to offer them the Tabako-bon. Our servants were the youthful daughters of the richest and most honorable families of Kumamoto. They served in these roles today in order to honor us deeply. Unfortunately I could not talk to these attentive and diligent Musumes, so that our interaction was limited to sign language. In any case I caused much hilarity among the young ladies as I was forced by the muggy heat and the numerous very hot fish dishes to ask for and empty one glass after another of cool champaign time and again. Here I knew to be thankful to our dear host who was familiar with European thirsts and kept a large stock of the refreshing liquid.

After the Tabako-bon we were handed small closed wooden boxes by the girls in a similar ceremony as before. Inside they had each a large gelatin bar surrounded by artificial flowers made out of sugar and tragacanth and flags in both the Austrian and Japanese colors. This was one of the usual presentation spectacles during Japanese dinners. Usually these dishes were given by the host to the guests to carry home after the end of the dinner.

Now started the actual dinner with a cup of tea. The industrious Musumes placed small lacquered tables in front of us on which were countless dishes, mostly seafood, namely fish, crabs and shrimps, then vegetables, rice, mushrooms, fruits etc. in various preparation and arranged in an appetizing way on small lacquered and porcelain plates. Naturally the chopsticks made out of ivory and colorful paper napkins were not missing on any small table.

Even though the Japanese cooking has many similarities with the Chinese one I found here as well as earlier in Nagasaki that the dishes were more tasteful and in any case prepared in a way that one could recognize the origin and the  ingredients of the individual dishes whereas the Chinese artists fully kept me guessing about this. While some Musumes were occupied with carrying the small tables, others of these cute servants filled sake out of small porcelain flasks into the tiny bowls of the guests. Drunken in small quantities we quite liked it.

The pièce de résistance of the dinner were dishes, namely fish, roast, fruits and vegetables that had been arranged in a most artistic and fantastic way on three small tables that were place in front of me and the prince by two girls each. There were rocks and grottoes made out potato and bean paste between which fish stretched their heads out, furthermore cranes and storks made out of red and white beets and onions and equipped with lights made out of raisins. Among the animals threatened a dragon made out of plums, next to it a tortoise emerged out of a melon. Alive dwarf trees that seemed to be rooted in these works of art were bowing under the weight of attached fruits.

The most luxurious ideas the figment of the cooks produced in creating their cakes and pastries was in the form of fantastic animals and the most strange magical flowers. After we had sufficiently admired this orgy of culinary forms —  actually a gimmick but very interesting due to the difficulty and effort required and thus revealing the joy of the Japanese for figural creations —, some of the girls sat down on their knees at the small tables and started to divide the masterworks and place them on small plates which were carried to us by other girls so that each received some part of the dragon, of the crane, of the tortoise etc. If the table of each guest did not offer enough space to hold all those plates and bowls, the dishes were placed on the mats next to the guest.

Thanks to the practice we had had in Canton and in Nagasaki we were already familiar with the use of chopsticks even though there were still many funny intermezzi which caused much merriment and offered a topic for conversation. Thanks to the fact that the host and part of his companions could even speak German, the conversation was very lively.

Towards the end of the dinner the sound of singing and music was heard in a next-door hall where to those sounds young girls, hardly grown out of childhood, performed a dance of the four seasons and flowers and executed remarkable moves by their elegant draping of their kimonos and their gracious playing with their fans. I offered much praise to the skill of the teacher of the small artists.

Only late in the evening we returned to our friendly accommodation on whose veranda we enjoyed the refreshing cool air dressed in Japanese kimonos and the effects of the garden illumination as well as a firework that looked magically thanks to the sea of lights and flames. One might think that the pyrotechnics had run out of new effects and could only repeat acts shown already. In Japan, however, one has the opportunity to be convinced about the contrary given the surprises the fireworkers manage to conjure up.


  • Location: Kumamoto, Japan
  • ANNO – on 04.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Aida“.


Nagasaki, 3 August 1893

Dense fog down to the sea level prevented any views and furthermore the rain was pouring down without a break. Jupiter Pluvius who had now been chasing me some time during my voyage did not want to step out of character here too. That the cranky weather god would open up the sluices of heaven just today, I took all the more personally as during the last six weeks not a drop had fallen on the landscape here, so that the inhabitants had already started processions to implore the gods for plenty of rain for the highly endangered rice harvest. If this demand could not have been satisfied earlier I would have preferred a slight postponement.

At least the bad weather did not prevent me to visit Nagasaki in the morning even if a pouring rain of audiences and official visits had to be endured.

Just after the standard had been hoisted with a flag salute, the harbor was filled with the echoes of the guns of the anchoring warships. Each of which offered its salute of 21 shots, a honorable salute that always creates a very lofty feeling in me as it performed in honor of our standard.

Right after these salutes our gangway was besieged by a fleet of barges and boats out of which emerged a nearly endless row of dignitaries: admirals and ship commanders, the governor of the Ken (department) Nagasaki, Takeaki Nakano; the bishop and apostolic vicar J. A. Cousin; the mayor of Nagasaki; the members of the consular corps and the Japanese entourage assigned to me. It consisted of the vice grand master of the Imperial department for ceremonies (Shikibu Shiki), Yoshitane Sannomiya who in general was in charge of such voyages as I was undertaking. Then the master of the Imperial kitchen (Daisen Shiki) K. Jamanouji; finally the captain of the line Kurvaka and the privy secretary of the war minister, Major M. Muraki. The gentlemen present were able to speak partly German partly French. Three of them had visited Europe and especially also Vienna in order to study the administration and the ceremonies of our court.

After the crowding of dignitaries came to an end during the afternoon, I drove on land to visit Nagasaki. For the first time I set foot on Japanese ground and found myself surrounded by all those delicate colorful scenes come to life,  even though the city no longer has a pure Japanese character but shows many effects of European influence, that constitute the content of our imagination of Japanese life that we form out of books and the images from their artistic and industrial products.

Walking along the narrow and still airy clear streets because the small houses are seldom more than a story high, we practised applied ethnography by „peeping into the windows“ („fensterlnd„). The houses made out of wood and paper offered views not only into the living rooms of the Japanese but also into life going on there. As every cover of the houses towards the street is made only out of movable walls that are often removed during the day so that the full interior is exposed to the glances of those passing by. The division of the interior rooms is formed by wooden walls covered with paper and often artfully painted. These walls can on demand be taken out and moved.

A small Japanese house thus is capable of being adapted to the space requirements of its inhabitants in a way that astonishes us used to the fixed immovable walls of our buildings.  A Japanese house thus is not an „immovable property“ in our native sense. What we saw of furniture is of the most modest kind. With the exception of a few appliances for the most necessary use, this is formed mostly by beautiful light yellow straw mats that cover the ground of all living rooms. All the more diverse are the genial productive craft activities that are done in workshops and shops and confirm the industriousness and artistry of the Japanese.

Continuing to walk in the streets we witnessed domestic activities common to the daily life of the Japanese people but also some charming family scene played itself out in front of us and not a few sons and daughters of Nippon we could observed in all kinds of phase of intimate life. While in our customs and manners at home there is a sharp division between domestic and public life, where the door is noisily locked, here a similar separation does not exist. Life within the house that is open to us passes indiscernibly into life on the street and vice versa the life on the street seems to sweep unimpeded into the homes.

Wherever we were looking we encountered cleanliness and neatness in a pleasant contrast to the dirtiness characteristic of the Chinese.

The European civilization which has established itself in Nippon in a surprisingly quick period is already expressed by the clothing, not particularly favorable to the Japanese whose figures and forms are not really suitable for European clothing. The upper classes of the Japanese society use nearly exclusively European clothing which are almost mandatory at court and for the officials while the mass of the people continues to hold on to the ancient way of clothing, inherited for generations, even though the lower classes too have made concessions to the new fashion and thus the local customs are breached more and more. As a dedicated friend of all national dresses I deplore the replacement of the very becoming Japanese costumes by our equalizing soulless clothing. So many Japanese who would make a good appearance in their local dress look strange, that is not to say hilarious if they are wearing a frock coat and ornamented with a top hat, walking majestically or bowing incessantly.

Men and women rush past us and namely, if they have remained faithful to the local tradition, always fanning, scuttling and rattling on sandals and wooden high heeled shoes (Getas). The men seemed to me, except for some individual sympathetic and even well-shaped ones, on average rather unattractive. In their faces, the features of the Mongolian race are to be found very pronounced, their size is small and their legs are conspicuously often bow-legged.

In comparison to the men, the female part of the population has to be called almost pretty. or more precisely, extremely delicate. All the Japanese women who we saw were of the same type and gave the impression of a charming porcelain figure come alive while they smiling and joking scuttled along the streets.

Now and then we met a girl with a noticeably regular and beautiful physiognomy that would have been fully appreciated if compared to the features of European beauties. The stroll through Nagasaki, however, already allowed me to form my opinion that the travel descriptions I have read and so many messages that I received that excessively praised Japanese women if they described the girls of this location as the most beautiful daughters of Eve. Such praise can only be upheld on account of truly individual tastes and special motives. The charming effect of the always cheerful girlish figures lies in their harmonic neatness and delicateness of their appearances that are however too doll-like for European beauty standards in order to claim to represent an ideal female type. Unfortunately the youthful freshness of the Japanese woman withers very fast so that only rarely one can spot a beautiful woman which is also increased by the for us incomprehensible custom of the women blackening their teeth and shaving their eye brows — disfiguring customs that are said, however, to be only rarely still practised among the upper classes of society but still common among the lower classes.

Even though Japanese women still are forced in popular opinion even today to sacrifice their exterior to their husband, the ladies here go even further than seems absolutely necessary as every Japanese woman, both adult and girl, devotes special care for her clothing and hairdo. We had the opportunity to collect experiences as we witnesses how so many a beauty prepared her styling. And we could appreciate this spectacle not only in a covert manner but frank and open, looking from the street into the boudoirs we became acquainted with the most intimate secrets of the arts that the Japanese women use to entrap. Our curiosity, by the way, was not in the least resented and none of the delicate paper walls were moved to provide cover from the unbidden glances, quite to the contrary the watched ladies waved friendly at us or burst into a bright laughter if they became aware about our astonishment about the unexpected liberal customs.

The most complicated part of the daily styling is the hairdo that is given the most attention and only redone every third or fourth day because the construction of such a miracle, similar to those of the Chinese women, requires enormous care and about two hours of time. I understandably did not have the patience to witness the creation of such an artful build-up from the beginning to the end but felt satisfied with the revelation that countless inlays made out of papier mâché provided the interior support for the audaciously rising arrangements that extend to the rear in coquettish lines as well as lavishly used hair grease and oils supplied the exterior smoothness and gloss. Pins, combs, flowers, feathers, bands and all kinds of gewgaw were attached to the hair and make a major contribution to the overall presentation.

Apparently there exist up to 60 different kinds of hairdos that even have special connotations for the insiders by revealing the status and the intentions of the wearer, so that Japan’s women can speak by using a „hair code“ while in our home countries the beauties only know how to speak with flowers and fans. A widow who was not disinclined to find new luck in a new marriage is said to wear her hair in a certain kind of way while a widow that had ceased to adhere to Hymen may express this by a simple hairdo, apparently a sign of resignation. This meaningful practical use of hairdos can not be denied which will be readily admitted at least by suitors. A single glance on the head of the desired one will instruct the wildly beating heart if there is hope of having a chance or not.

A really charming effect is produced by the national dress of the Japanese women. This consists of a Kimono, a dress that reaches down to the ankles and is somewhat open in front with wide baggy sleeves, that is held together by a broad sash called Obi that is knotted together on the back into a bow. The Kimono hugs the forms softly and effortlessly and provides it with an extreme graciousness and presents its in a most favorable way. I believe, however, that only the delicate, discretely shaped forms of the Japanese women are suitable for the Kimono. That is by the way also a piece of clothing for male Japanese if they are not yet wearing European clothes. It is just cut shorter and simpler than those worn by the women. The men’s Obi is a piece of linen repeatedly wound around the loins into which the samurai — the vassals of the shogun, the de facto ruler of the country who exercises the Imperial right to rule as well as the daimyo, the large feudal lords — pushed two swords during earlier times, while the belt now only has a peaceful purpose since the prohibition of bearing arms of the year 1876 and serves to hold besides the dress itself also the fan and the smoking tools.

At first it makes a strange impression on a European to see children dressed like adults but one soon gets accustomed to this sight and enjoys seeing these cute small humans who in their clothes seemed to be more than they actually are. As the physical and mental development of  the youth under Japan’s sky happens apparently very quickly we saw not a few children who, despite their tender age, made very precocious faces and acted so controlled that they often enough caused great hilarity among us.

Nagasaki, whose streets we were strolling through in constantly refreshed curiosity, is of the greatest historical interest for Europeans and especially for Christians. Still one of the most  important trading ports of Japan, Nagasaki rose quickly from a poor fishermen’s  village after the daimyo of Omura permitted the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century to settle there. Christendom developed its deepest roots on Kyushu amidst the native population. Here the apostle of Japan, a disciple of Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Franz Xaver, set foot on Japanese soil in 1549 at Kagoshima. Within a relatively short time Christendom expanded to a surprising extent, favored by various circumstances; but probably this great success was the cause for a reaction that turned to ever more bloody persecutions that were happening in the whole country based on a proclamation of the shogun Ieyasu in the year 1614. The persecution of Christians might have dwarfed that of the Roman Empire as thousands upon thousands went to their most cruel death in admirable steadfastness to their beliefs. Glorious witnesses of the bloody acts arose for the church in that far away part of the world. While the newly created religion emerged strengthened from the blood baths in the Roman Empire, in Japan the creed of the salvation was successfully eradicated by the cruel actions against the believers.

In 1636, after two decades of continuous atrocities, 30.000 to 40.000 Christians of the principality of Arima and other areas on the island of Kyushu took up arms, set up a defense in the old castle on Shimbara and neighboring islands and put up a heroic resistance under the leadership of Nirada Shiro for three months in 1637 against Itakura Shigemasa sent to suppress them. Finally the castle was conquered and its brave defenders were butchered. Streams of blood flew, thousands of captured Catholics were carried to the island of Taka-boko rising more than 60 m out of the sea offshore to the Western entrance of Nagasaki’s harbor and there pushed into the sea from the dizzy heights. The Dutch called this island in memory of these horrible scenes „Hill of the Papists“ but did not themselves act honorably if the historical record is correct. Blinded by their hatred against Catholicism and their trading envy the Dutch are said to have supported with arms the shogun in his fight against the rebellious Catholics.

The blood bath of Shimbara was followed by the banishment of the Portuguese, the nearly complete suppression of Christendom, that survived only in parts and namely close to Nagasaki in the large community of Urakami up to the present day, and the start of the era of the most complete seclusion with which Japan isolated itself completely up to the present time. The Chinese and the Dutch kept up an nearly exclusive trade with the West and that only in a very limited fashion. The Dutch had to give up their factory in Hirado in 1641 and settle on Deshima (offshore island), an artificial mound of soil that was surrounded by a wall and a moat as well as only connected to Nagasaki by a stone bridge whose gate was under the protection of a Japanese guard. Thus under very severe lock, if not to say imprisonment, about twenty Dutch at a time kept up trade between Japan and the mother country from which at first only one ship was allowed annually to enter and later eight of them.

The advantages of this trade must have been in fact remarkable in order to compensate for all the truly not inconsiderable humiliations the Dutch had to endure for more than two hundred years. Thus the resident of Deshima had to undertake an annual voyage to Edo (Tokyo) at great cost and under most severe supervision according to a very precisely fixed ceremonial protocol in order to offer presents to the shogun and display their deference in a festive ceremony by crawling on all fours towards the shogun hidden behind a curtain, place the head on the floor and crawl back like a crab.

At a subsequent less festive presentation it was the duty of the Dutch companions of the resident to serve as entertainment for the women and the other members of the court by having to sing, dance and play drunk and other foolish things on the shogun’s order. What Homo sapiens is willing to do for filthy lucre! The old Deshima,  the eternally memorable place of commercial spirit and deep humiliation became a victim of a fire and has been replaced by a new settlement — as if the huge changes in the the relations of the present time had an effect on the past and wanted to spare the Europeans from coming to face with the inglorious warning about ancient Japan by reforming that place!

During the stroll through Nagasaki we often stopped to enjoy the scenery, as far as the somewhat better weather permitted. The view the harbor offers in its surrounding had already enchanted us during the entrance. The bay of Nagasaki is, as previously noted, delimited in the West by Taka-boko while the other sides are surrounded by gently inclining hills and mountains rising to up to 400 m, so that the harbor has a character of a snugly hidden mountain lake. These heights are filled with cultures of all kinds in their lower parts and now and then are small groves, villages, temples and tiny houses. The upper parts are in some places very picturesquely covered with pine trees, Japanese cedars and camphor trees. All shades of the color scale were lighting down from the mountain tops to the cultured, flower-covered regions and the blueish glittering sea. There on the sea smooth as a mirror lay moored mighty warships and large vehicles with a peaceful purpose. Numerous fishing boats were on the move and all kinds of barges were intermingled.

Even though Nagasaki, which counts 58.000 inhabitants, does not have a productive back country like the cities of Yokohama and Kobe it is still an important trading place thanks to its harbor which can be entered by ships of all sizes which exports tortoiseshell products, lacquer and earthenware as well as stone coal, rice, tea etc.

That they expect preferably to sell to foreigners is shown by the numerous shops filling the streets that offer Japanese products of all kinds, namely those that we are familiar with as curiosities. These shops marked by their English signs as the most advanced seemed to me to offer the most tasteful and solid articles. But the exorbitant prices are similar. The owner expresses them with a smile, only to offer a rebate at the right moment to incited the shopping mad foreigner to further acquisitions. The place of Kyushu, combining the island of the same name and its territory, is the seat of a very famous ancient porcelain and ceramic industry. Thus we saw everywhere Arita or Hisen porcelain, furthermore Amakusa porcelain with porcelain stones from the group of islands of Amakusa and Satsuma earthenware with its colorful and splendid paint on a yellowish foundation that might be highly esteemed in Europe but  is not especially to my taste.

We had already strolled past a considerable number of shops and turned our steps now to one of the numerous tea houses which here serve as a replacement for restaurants. The tea houses are very delicately built and contain a number of rooms that can be made larger or smaller thanks to the movability of the walls according to the demands as well as open verandas. Here the guests come not only to sip the usual refreshments such as tea, sake that is rice wine that has a similar taste like sherry etc. but to eat a full dinner. As the local custom requires that such symposia are animated by productions by female singers and dancers we had given orders to ask for such female artists, Geishas, who are never staying in the tea house but are living nearby and have to be asked  to come.

We had just taken a seat in an open veranda on the soft mats when the hostess appeared with a flock of waitresses, — they are usually called with the word „Nesan“ — girls aged from 10 to 18 years, to serve the dinner in a myriad of small lacquered bowls, dishes, small cups and small plates. Even though the cooking was understandably to fully to our taste, I found the dishes nevertheless much more appetising than the Chinese cooking. Fish and rice constitute the main components of the menu to which we at first drank rice wine until I discovered the existence of bear whereas we refreshed ourselves with the noble  amber nectar („Gerstensaft“).

During the dinner the female singers performed first. They were young girls all clothed and coiffed in the same manner and strongly made up who took their seats at our side with numerous bows and started to sing accompanied by the sounds of a mandolin-like instruments, Gekin and Biwa, that were played with clappers. The singing spanned only a few notes and produced a very monotonous effect. The attempt to incited the ladies to a much funnier song or at least to an increase in speed of their presentation by the infusion of sake failed completely.

Very delicate and charming was the production of the female dancers whose choreographic movements were performed in a way that we could only admire their skill and flexibility, but in the main their successful pursuit of performing every figure in the most perfect form possible. Even though these female artists were educated in a school of dancing masters, their natural grace in the character of the Japanese people is still unmistakable in the way it makes the dancers stand out.  The manner in which they stepped forward and backward, turn, bow and rise, hold their fan and move, creating folds in their clothing and play with their long sleeves — all this breathes the perfect grace. Hour upon hour the Japanese manage to enjoy this spectacle sitting quietly on the mats and sipping tea. In all admiration for the artists I would not have the patience to enjoy myself during such long-winded productions that might be very interesting but especially for a foreigner who is not completely familiar with the matter becomes monotonous in time. The dances were meant to illustrate particular actions that naturally remained totally incomprehensible to us.

At the end of the show a prodigy was presented, a girl of 13 years, the prima ballerina of the quarter and the pride of her dancing instructor. This artist showed a number of difficult dances and evolutions with the help of masks, flowers etc. in a truly excellent manner. A Japanese in our company was truly enchanted and smiled blissfully in view of such a perfect display of art. I however could not desist, perhaps not taking the Japanese situation fully into account, from a home-grown feeling of opposition to putting children on display for whatever purposes.

From the veranda of the tea house we enjoyed the rewarding view on Nagasaki’s surroundings and the city itself. Like colorful bands the small house gardens extend from one part to the other, some real miniature installations that had in very narrow delimited space all kinds of decorations, furthermore blooming flowers in large numbers and small trees cut in a baroque style.

In the narrow streets the fleeting djinn rickshaws are rolling up and down. I entrusted myself, having well enough tasted the different culinary and artistic delights offered in the tea house, into the care of one of these vehicles and so took a drive through the city and then return in the late evening on board where I was necessary to make preparations for my disembarkation and the voyage on land.

While I was in the city, the governor had sent on board a number of photographs that showed both parts of Nagasaki and its surroundings and all kinds of scenes and types, as well as a pair of lovely bantams — a consideration for which I thank the kind donor.


  • Location: Nagasaki, Japan
  • ANNO – on 03.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Das goldene Kreuz“.
The Wiener Salonblatt No. 32 notes the safe arrival of Franz Ferdinand in Nagasaki.

The Wiener Salonblatt No. 32 notes the safe arrival of Franz Ferdinand in Nagasaki.

Nagasaki, 2 August 1893

In the morning there were heavy rainstorms from South-west and South-South-east. Due to the rough sea „Elisabeth“ was at times pitching up to 18°. In the late morning the island of Udsi was sighted for a short time. Towards noon we saw the group of the Koshiki islands. Then a heavy rains poured down on us that prevented sighting anything and only after 4 o’clock in the afternoon it cleared up a bit so that Nomo Cape came into view and we now could set the course for the harbor of Nagasaki.

Nagasaki lies on Kyushu (nine provinces), the most Southern of the large Japanese islands. The Empire of Japan, also known as Nippon or Nihon, of 382.412 km2 and 40.718.677 souls, contains, as it is well known, a number of islands of which four are of considerable size, namely Kyushu, Shikoku, Nippon or Hondo, the mainland that constitutes the actual Japan and finally to the North of it, Yezo. The rest of Japan’s surface is divided among a number of smaller islands.

A tall pillar of smoke revealed the small island of Taka at the entrance to the long-winded bay of Nagasaki, on which the sincerely bad fat coal is extracted with which the steamers entering Nagasaki usually are supplied.

The island of Kyushu or, more precisely, its Western heavily broken up peninsula of Hizen appears as a mountainous area fully covered by greenish vegetation. The coast and especially its offshore islands feature grotesque shapes in multiple places. In general, the entrance resembles that of a Norwegian fjord despite all the splendour of the harbor of Nagasaki as the about three sea miles long water strait leads in multiple turns between islands and land tongues until finally the harbor opens up and the city of Nagasaki — the „long promontory“ — becomes visible in a basin and and on the mountain sides in the background of the bay. A sharp division separates the clear European villa quarter out of which rise the signal masts of the consulates from the Japanese part of the city whose monotonous grey sea of houses extends at the North-eastern beach. At the entrance to the inner harbor are marine establishments, docks etc. of the Japanese naval station.

Already in the open sea we had been expected by the Japanese torpedo cruiser „Yaeyama“ and, having signalled its intention to serve as a guide, drove as a pilot ship in front of „Elisabeth“. From the deck of „Yaeyama“ the music band sent over sounds that apparently were intended to represent our anthem — a consideration we felt obliged to return by playing the Japanese anthem in reply.

I entered without standard into the harbor of Nagasaki which made the Japanese desist to fire gun and yard salutes from the numerous anchored warships for which all the preparations had already been made. A torpedo boat circled around us in the harbor at lightning speed and assigned us our anchorage that was marked by a flag in our colors swimming in the water. At the entrance of the harbor lay a larger English cruiser, „Leander„, that had been forced by machine damage to call here. Furthermore there was a squadron of Japanese warships in the harbor, that is namely:  the flagship „Itsukushima„, then the ships „Matsushima“, „Takawo“, „Takatshiho“, „Kaimon“ and „Katsuragi“, joined by our pilot ship „Yaeyama“. All these warships represent imposing beautiful ships that have been built based on the most modern models and have been armed with all innovations of maritime technology and arms as Japan sacrificed considerably to build its fleet and is quite a bit proud about its naval force that currently contains 55 ships with 55.053 t, 79.694 indicated horse powers and 439 guns as well as a complement of 6815 men.

Still during the evening our ambassador Rüdiger Baron von Biegeleben came on board in gala dress to inform me about the program of my stay in Japan about which I learned to my astonishment that my desire to drive on board of „Elisabeth“ up to Yokohama and only there officially start the journey could not be fulfilled. The preparations for the journey across the country had already been made and the representatives of the Japanese entourage whom I asked for to meet in Yokohama had already arrived in Nagasaki. Therefore I had to pass on driving on my dear „Elisabeth“ through the often praised inland sea and quietly visit at least a part of Japan in an unofficial capacity  and had to have me guided across the country by Japanese dignitaries already from Nagasaki in a festive procession, a sort of triumphal  cortege.


  • Location: Nagasaki, Japan
  • ANNO – on 02.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Don Juan“.

At Sea to Nagasaki, 1 August 1893

The journey continued in good slightly misty weather and assisted by the fresh monsoon from South-South-west as well as favorable wind conditions. During the night the air pressure again showed a tendency of decreasing.


  • Location: In the East China Sea
  • ANNO – on 01.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Lohengrin“.

At Sea to Nagasaki, 31 July 1893

Early in the morning we were on the same height as Amoy. The weather remained in our favor and an only partially agitated sea indicated that a cyclone must have moved a short time ago through the Formosa Strait. This feared passage was recently the place where the horrible typhoon had „Bokhara“ into a catastrophe while our small „Fasana“ knew to survive the storm almost unharmed.


  • Location: In the Formosa Strait
  • ANNO – on 31.07.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing a ballet „Excelsior“ and more.

At Sea to Nagasaki, 30 July 1893

Apparently we succeeded to evade the depression that moved West thanks to the foresight of the commander as the results of our weather observation were favorable and the horizon showed itself clear.

Towards 6 o’clock in the morning the course was reversed to the direction of the Formosa Strait at the small rock Pedro bianco emerging out of the sea and we sailed as quickly as possible to our next destination of Nagasaki, sailed in the true meaning of the word as we set our only sail for the first time during this journey — the wind blew from aft. This however made more an impression as a gadget than actually increasing the speed of our journey. In a modern warship, the rigging is completely in the background and the sail is replaced completely by the machine. A part of sailor poetry gone that became the victim of our inventive century! The machine, by the way, wanted clearly to show what it was able to do compared to the sail. It worked so hard that we achieved the highest number of sea miles driven per day and made good quite some part of the time lost caused by reversing our course. During the night we entered the Formosa Strait.


  • Location: In the Formosa Strait
  • ANNO – on 30.07.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse reports that the King of Siam has accepted the French ultimatum and will cede territories to the French.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing a ballet „Wiener Walzer“ and more.

At Sea to Nagasaki, 29 July 1893

At the time of departure from Hongkong we enjoyed the splendid weather, so that we could hope for a good journey through the Chinese Sea, which is feared for its frequent and very intense typhoons, even though the air pressure had a falling tendency for two days. But we had barely reached the open sea when all the signs of approaching bad weather appeared. The horizon turned, in sailor speech, „ugly“. Light cirrus clouds ran from North to South. From the East came an increasing groundswell the closer we approached the Strait of Formosa.

The sunset was nothing less than beautiful. In the evening the air pressure dropped rapidly and the groundswell began to run crossed from East-North-east and East-South-east. The sea grew stronger and „Elisabeth“ pitched mightily. There was no doubt that a cyclone was approaching. The commander first ordered the speed of the journey slowed down in order to observe the further developments but then decided, when the barometer again had fallen and the groundswell increased again, to evade the approaching cyclone. We thus turned, having reached Shantou, a region often visited by typhoons, at a quarter past 9 o’clock in the evening and steered back towards Hongkong. The more we drove towards the West the more the drop of the air pressure stopped, a fresh Western wind turned up and the ship was still for a short time pitching in the groundswell coming from the aft but this calmed down soon.

The Wiener Salonblatt notes FF's departure from Hong Kong to Nagasaki,

The Wiener Salonblatt notes that FF could not visit Bangkok due to the French-Siamese conflict and FF’s departure from Hong Kong to Nagasaki,


  • Location: At Sea near Shantou
  • ANNO – on 29.07.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing a ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“ and more.

Hongkong, 28 July 1893

Today’s stay in Hongkong is considered an extension of the program. But we were so busy with the packaging and sending of the objects bought in Canton that a delay of the time for departure seemed inevitable. In the morning I stayed on board, occupied with all kinds of business and received our so late arrived consular agent, a German named Kramer who excused himself as he had gone to pick up his sick wife in Japan.

In the afternoon I „strolled“ again in the streets of the city, taking my leave from Hongkong, and in the evening I hosted a dinner on board to which I had invited the Austrians, namely consul general Haas and his wife, Coudenhove and the Lloyd’s agent as well as Mr. Kramer. „Bismarck“, the German speaking Chinese, had presented me with a flower bouquet as table decoration. After the meal, the wonderful moonshine enticed all dinner participants to undertake, in our barge, a tour of the harbor.


  • Location: Hongkong
  • ANNO – on 28.07.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing a ballet „Coppella“ and more.