With these terms in place hypotheses about the nature of nineteenth-century Japonisme begin to suggest themselves, but these are best considered in the context of another landscape that will help establish more exactly the nature of the terms and the ways they inform understanding of the Western response to Japan in the nineteenth century. Miner’s concept of a chronological exoticism had suggested itself also to Théophile Gautier, in 1863, in a letter to Edmond and Jules de Goncourt in which Gautier explained his own understanding of exoticism and that of others in France with whom the term had become associated. In contrast to Miner’s sense of an attraction for the unfamiliarly refined, however, as Gautier saw it a particular kind of desire, or ‘taste’ (le goût), was determinative. ‘There are two meanings to exoticism’, he wrote; the first is ‘a taste for exoticism in space, a taste for America, a taste for yellow women [or] green women’, for example, but ‘the more refined taste, the more supreme corruption, is the taste for exoticism in time,’ Gautier’s first example of which suggests an understanding that places exoticism in a more provocative landscape than usually has been considered in Anglo-American criticism. Gustave Flaubert, Gautier wrote, ‘voudrait forniquer á Carthage’: he would like to fornicate in Carthage. 
The reference is to Salammbô, Flaubert’s ‘Carthaginian novel’ of 1863, about the high priestess of the title, set against the brutality of the rebellion of mercenaries against Carthage after the First Punic War.  Gautier was the first to write of the work in terms of its exoticism, but others have followed, and in terms pertaining here, Lisa Lowe in Critical Terrains and a later study of nationalism and exoticism in Flaubert, Anne Mullen Hohl at length in Exoticism in Salammbô, Eugenio Donato in discussion of Flaubert’s ‘nostalgia for Antiquity’,  and Roger Célestin in analysis of the relation between the irrevocable absence of Carthage and Flaubert’s ‘desire for an exotic other place’ well distanced from the bourgeois manners of Paris. Carthage, Célestin writes,
A reading of exoticism in these terms can lead in several directions. If, for example, as Célestin has it, the ‘dissident desire’ of a ‘self-affirming subject’ is what generates a shift from passive awareness of an exotic other place to the mode of representation called exoticism,  then analysis of the nature of the desire mediated in a text or body of texts is not out of place, and indeed the Western response to Japan in the nineteenth century reveals a full taxonomy of desire, both fulfilled and frustrated. In this regard a reading in Gautier’s frankly sexual terms, or the political terms established in a study such as Edward Said’s Orientalism in 1978, might identify consistencies that have not before been noted, and across a wide constellation of works. The point here, however, is more mundane, and concerns the nature of the absence rather than the desires it arguably engendered. The empirically demonstrable point is that Japan for a Henley and his audience was absent in a different way than were the objects of other nineteenth-century exoticisms, the Islamic world of Thalaba and Lalla Rookh, Gautier’s Spain, classical Greece, and Pompeii, the India of the Parnassians, more profoundly absent, to take the example at hand, even than for Flaubert and his readers was the Carthaginian antiquity.
For nineteenth-century writers and readers the classical world was present as a rich tapestry of text. Polybius, Appius, Pliny, Xenophon, Hippocrates, Atheneus, Sallust, and Apuleius were accessible, and Flaubert turned to each, and to two thousand years of elaboration.  To Ernst Feydeau he wrote of his plan to ‘rebuild Carthage completely’, to Jules Duplan of the 400-page thesis on the Pyramidal Cypress he read because these were the trees that grew in the courtyard of the temple of Astarteus, to Sainte-Beuve of his confidence that he had ‘reconstruct[ed] correctly’ the temple of Tanit based on ‘the treatise of the Syrian Goddess, the duc de Luyne’s medals, our knowledge of the temple at Jerusalem, a passage from St. Jerome quoted by Delden . . . [and] the plan of the temple at Gozo’.  The contrast to the exoticism of literary Japonisme is stark. Gautier quipped that in Salammbô Flaubert had ‘cut down a forest to make a book of matches’, and Flaubert himself wrote of ‘drinking in oceans and pissing them out again’,  but for nineteenth-century writers of poems and plays about Japan there was no forest and no ocean, and in most cases they did not turn even to the works available in an emerging but immature Western scholarship of Japan. They favoured instead stock images from the visual arts, almost exclusively, as in Henley’s case, from ukiyoe, and so compounded one absence with another, producing a body of work that lacks correlatives both in lived experience and in the already-represented experience of earlier texts.
That some nineteenth-century poets responding to the fashion for Japan travelled to and even lived for a time in Japan—Edwin Arnold was the most widely-celebrated of these—does not compromise the point. The lived experience was mediated by the standard figures to such a degree that the resulting work does not differ notably from that of counterparts who did not leave home. For both groups the textual absence was determinative. And neither is the contrast to other nineteenth-century exoticisms limited to Gautier and Miner’s exoticism in time, or to mid-century, or to prose, or to writing in French. Byron, for example, claimed that by the age of ten he had read Knolles’s Generall Historie of the Turkes (1603), Rycaut’s History of the Turkish Empire (1679), Galland’s Arabian Nights (1706), Cantemir’s Histoire de l’empire Othoman (1743), Lady Montagu’s letters from Turkey (1763), de Tott’s Memoires . . . sur les Turcs et les Tartares (1785), Hawkins’s translation of Mignot’s Histoire de l’empire Ottoman (1787), and ‘all [other] travels or histories or books from the East [he] could meet with’, and critics have demonstrated intertextual influences in his Turkish Tales from these works, d’Herbelot’s Bibliothéque orientale (1697), Sale’s translation of the Koran (1734), Samuel Henley’s notes to Beckford’s Vathek (1786), Weston’s Moral Aphorisms in Arabic, and a Persian Commentary in Verse (1805), translations from the fourteenth-century poet Hafiz—four editions were available in English by 1805—and numerous volumes of philology and translation by William Jones, whose first Collected Works appeared in 1807. 
The literary exoticism set in motion by the fashion for Japan, however, was contrived in an absence that with few exceptions determined even the rhetorical forms that could be employed. Hyperbole, heroic posturing, and sentimentality were the tactics in verse, high adventure in the novel, melodrama and burlesque on the stage, methods and manners not reliant on an objective or even a textual counterpart. Whitman, Longfellow, Fenollosa, and Kipling wrote poems that explore the meaning of Japan as a new and unknown presence for the West, but beyond this, with few exceptions, the nineteenth-century English-language literary response may be accounted for in Susan Stewart’s terms. It was necessarily inauthentic, unmindful of history, and turned toward an object that did not exist but as Western narrative. Finally the absences involved determined even the writers for whom the subject would appeal. Among British poets, for example, but for Kipling, who travelled in Japan, and Swinburne and Wilde, who experimented with technique related to ukiyoe but lampooned the Japanese vogue, the more eminent of the Victorians, Tennyson, Browning, Matthew Arnold, Hardy, Hopkins, grounded their work more firmly in presence, and in contrast to their Modernist heirs, for whom a different equation pertained, did not address Japan in print.
More than the clichés, strained rhymes, and extra and unwieldy syllables in iambic lines, this inauthenticity is the failing of nineteenth-century verse Japonisme. By 1870 a set of images had become fixed—the two-sworded samurai, the courtesan of the Yoshiwara, the posed actor, Fuji, cherry blossoms, plum branches in snow—but context was sadly wanting, and Japanese concepts and techniques all but unknown. By the eighties some poets would claim that particular works were written ‘in the Japanese fashion’ or ‘Japanese manner’—Thomas Westwood’s ‘Miniature Odes’, R. H. Stoddard’s ‘Lament’ and ‘The Pearl’, Edwin Arnold’s ‘Grateful Foxes’, for example  —but given the metres and rhymes and subjective stances what was meant by this is difficult to imagine. In such instances perhaps it is a general rule that the visual arts lead and literature follows. Western designers turned to models in the Japanese decorative arts, the Impressionist painters to ukiyoe, with results that inform later work and remain provocative, in part because they represent an authentic meeting of traditions. When van Gogh painted a river and rain that Hiroshige had carved into a block of wood, or Whistler transposed Hiroshige’s bridge at Kyôbashi to the Thames,  a conventional manner of seeing was contravened, and a new model established, with antecedents in Japan; but when Poo-Bah, Nanki-Poo, Ko-Ko, and Yum-Yum take to the stage in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado,  or events unfold in dozens of English poems of old Japan, conventional assumptions are bolstered, and the only principle contravened is that of regard for the authenticity of the representation, or the possibility that anyone in the audience might know better, or care one way or the other.
In many cases the enterprise of the Japonisme of the visual arts was to carry over what Pound later would call a live tradition,  but for nineteenth-century poets responding to the fashion for Japan success more often lay in an affected knowledge of a landscape at best but dimly perceived. This Japonisme was carried into the twentieth century by poets such as Alfred Noyes, and is in many ways the precursor to the Japan-inspired verse of poets such as Ficke, Fletcher, Lowell, and their followers, but even the more enduring examples of the genre, The Mikado, Pierre Loti’s Madame Chrysanthéme, even those few that endure and are sympathetic to the authenticity of a Japanese presence—passages in Lafcadio Hearn, the last and most beautiful manifestation of Madame Butterfly—while confirming and perpetuating stereotypes that persisted for decades, have less in common with the Japonisme of the visual arts, or with other nineteenth-century exoticisms, than usually has been supposed, and in only superficial ways account for the more provocative literary response that followed. 
The more important work was being done by travellers—journalists, diplomats, scholars, and translators—those engaged in establishing modern texts where before there had been none. The point is not that these were accurate, but that given the circumstances they were necessary, and inevitably included works of wide interest and influence. The earliest came from members of the Perry Expedition, but others followed in rapid succession: after 1860 from the scholar-envoys associated with the British and American consular presence in Japan; after 1869 from writers whose travels were facilitated by completion of the Suez Canal and American transcontinental railroad; after 1877 from foreign scholars invested at the Imperial University at Tokyo by a Meiji government eager to adapt the ways of Western power; and soon thereafter from Japanese writers themselves, capable of representing themselves in the languages of Europe.  The outpouring in this early period was remarkable. Fifty years after Perry’s arrival at Uraga ended two centuries of virtual silence monographs about Japanese subjects in English alone numbered more than 3,000.  Most of these are long forgotten, and with good reason, but among their number are the studies of Japanese art, literature, and history, and translation of works from the Japanese canon, that along with works of later intermediaries have been the texts to which twentieth-century English-language poets responding to Japan have gone to school, not to nineteenth-century literary Japonisme, and in the early years of the century not often to Japan herself.
These considerations begin to allow placement of the twentieth-century literary response to Japan in a fuller context, but further issues remain, the first of which is facilitated by a return to Miner’s Japanese Tradition. For Miner the Western fascination with Japan continues to ‘tease’ even after his acknowledgement that it ‘seems to defy explanation’. He returns to the point in distinguishing between the ‘chronological exoticism’ of poems such as Henley’s and a ‘cultural exoticism’ that idealises the ‘different and ancient but rich and continuous [Japanese] culture’ as it exists concurrently with the writer representing it, but again the contrast to Gautier’s like distinction of a century earlier is clear:
It would be difficult, after all [Miner writes], to exoticize or idealize the forms of Ubangi culture—or of the Indian and Chinese hinterlands— beyond a certain point, since few Westerners can really imagine themselves happy for a moment in such societies. But Japan, a civilization as highly refined as the West, is familiar and congenial in its modern conveniences, in addition to having the additional grace for a world-weary Westerner of new and idealized forms of behavior and art. 
This is a safe exoticism, the appeal of a familiar but vaguely mysterious home-away-from-home, the Japan of the tourist, and surely it accounts for a particular sort of twentieth-century Western interest. But insofar as the terms are offered in explanation of the larger allure of Japan for the West they obscure fundamental issues. Japan’s familiar and congenial modern conveniences are products of the late nineteenth century and after, and cannot account for earlier Western attraction. The lot of the early residents of the treaty ports was anything but congenial. Attacks on foreigners by disaffected samurai were common, and by 1864, two years after the International Exhibition at London, had led to the stationing of a British garrison at Yokohama to protect the settlement. And Western interest in Japan cannot be explained in terms of ‘idealized forms of behavior and art’ without begging important questions: who has done the idealising, and for whom? But the more serious difficulty is Miner’s failure to take into account that historically and culturally the Western relationship with Japan has differed radically from that with India, China, or the Congo Basin. On the afternoon that Perry arrived at Uraga each of these in one form or another had been a continuous presence for Europeans for hundreds of years, from the arrival of Vasco da Gama at Calicut in 1498, Portuguese merchants at Macao in 1514, and British, Dutch, Portuguese, and French slave traders at Ouidah after 1518. Henley’s poem, to take a convenient example, was published 288 years after Elizabeth I granted the British East India Company a monopoly on trade with India, 104 after Pitt’s India Act divided control of the subcontinent between the Company and the British government, 241 years after the first British use of force at Canton, 109 after the East India Company monopolised the opium trade, 168 years after the first captives from central Africa survived the Middle Passage and were sold at auction in Virginia, 36 after Livingstone opened a route to central Africa, and a year before the French founding of the colony of Ubangi-Shari, after a decade of squabbling with the Belgians, Germans, and British. But from 1640 to 1853 in Japan there had been a silence, and in Europe and then America an increasingly felt absence, and longing built upon longing until the box-lid was open’d and the perfumes poured out.
Earl Miner was in 1958 and remains today a careful and keenly insightful scholar, one to whom anyone approaching this subject owes an incalculable debt, and one surely aware of the perils of the treaty ports, the origins of idealised Japanese behaviour and art, and in later articles the distance between what English-language writers needed from Japan and what is actually present there.  But the difficulties with which the definitive work on the subject approaches the cultural repercussions of the seclusion period are indicative of a larger problem. Miner’s argument about the British, Irish, and American literary interest in Japan relies on the premise that by the nineteenth century a persistent pessimism about the Western tradition had led European and American writers to turn to foreign cultures for ‘fresh and revivifying forms’, but Miner remains troubled that
The trouble perhaps is traceable to a critical discourse that so lacked discernment about representations of the exotic that particular sorts of cultural relationships, like particular ‘elements in the Western spirit’, were ‘imponderable’, but whatever the cause the lapse is historical. It is as if Miner has forgotten the period of seclusion. The explanation he seeks lies beneath the surface of his own words. In regard to Japan there had been no four centuries of cultural relations with English literature. Miner more than most writers who have addressed the subject places the locus of his inquiry in the needs of Western writers rather than the attributes of the Japanese subjects they have sought, and even studies that explain Western attraction for Japan wholly in terms of a Japanese presence may not be dismissed out of hand, but no study of the literary or larger cultural relationship of Japan and the West has grasped, or even confronted, two equally fundamental points: a definitive antecedent for the European and American fascination with Japan may be found in the years of Japanese isolation and the impulses they set in motion, and no part of the subsequent aesthetic response to Japan in the West to the present day exists outside the province of this history.
 Théophile Gautier to Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, 23 Nov. 1863, quoted by Roger Célestin, From Cannibals to Radicals, p. 94.
 Perhaps it is not out of place in this context to note that the character Salammbô is fictional, but that the Carthage of the novel is so carefully constructed from the materials Flaubert had at hand that the work is often discussed in studies of literary realism.
 Lisa Lowe, Critical Terrains, pp. 80 ff., and ‘Nationalism and Exoticism: Nineteenth-Century Others in Flaubert’s Salammbô and L’education sentimentale’, in Macropolitics of Nineteenth-Century Literature: Nationalism, Exoticism, Imperialism, edited by Jonathan Arac and Harriet Ritvo (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1991); Anne Mullen Hohl, Exoticism in Salammbô (Birmingham, Al.: Summa, 1995); Eugenio Donato, ‘Flaubert and the Question of History’, in Critical Essays on Gustave Flaubert, ed. Laurence Porter (Boston: Hall, 1986), pp. 91 ff.
 Roger Célestin, From Cannibals to Radicals, pp. 94-95.
 Ibid., pp. 2, 4.
 Ibid., p. 118.
 Gustave Flaubert to Ernst Feydeau, Jules Duplan, and Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, quoted by Roger Célestin, From Cannibals to Radicals, pp. 118-19.
 Théophile Gautier, quoted by Roger Célestin, From Cannibals to Radicals, p. 119; Gustave Flaubert, quoted by Eugenio Donato, ‘Flaubert and the Question of History’, p. 110.
 Byron, quoted by Isaac Disraeli, Literary Characters, 5th ed. (London: Moxon, 1834), pp. 68-69; Mohammed Sharafuddin, Islam and Romantic Orientalism: Literary Encounters with the Orient (London: Tauris, 1994), pp. 215-16; Sharafuddin notes also the voracious orientalist reading that underpinned Landor’s Gebir (pp. 1, 3), Southey’s Thalaba (pp. 49-50), and Moore’s Lalla Rookh (p. 135).
 Thomas Westwood, ‘Miniature Odes’, in Gathered in the Gloaming (London: Whittingham, 1881), pp. 11-15; R. H. Stoddard, ‘A Lament’ and ‘The Pearl’, in The Lion’s Cub (New York: Scribner, 1890), pp. 49-50; Edwin Arnold, ‘The Grateful Foxes’, in Potiphar’s Wife, pp. 37-55.
 Van Gogh’s Japonaiserie: The Bridge in Rain (1886-88), Hiroshige’s Ôhashi atake no yudachi (Ôhashi bridge in rain) and Kyôbashi takegashi (The bamboo docks at Kyôbashi), both in the ‘Hundred views of famous places in Edo’ series (1856-58), and Whistler’s Old Battersea Bridge, Nocturne in Blue and Gold (c. 1873-75), are reproduced in Siegfried Wichmann’s Japonisme (CC5), pp. 41, 138.
 W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s The Mikado, or, The Town of Titipu (London: Chappell, 1885) premiered at the Savoy Theatre on 14 March 1885 and became the most successful English operetta of the century, running for 672 successive performances.
 For a discussion of work by Alfred Noyes see CA2; for other twentieth-century treatments of Japan that remind of nineteenth-century literary Japonisme see Arthur Davison Ficke, The Happy Princess and Other Poems (1907, BG1), Amy Lowell, ‘Lacquer Prints’ (1917, BI4), and John Gould Fletcher, Japanese Prints (1918, BH7); Pierre Loti’s Madame Chrysanthème (1887) is available both in the original French and English translation in several modern editions; Lafcadio Hearn is discussed at D9; David Belasco’s stage adaptation of John Luther Long’s Madame Butterfly premiered in New York in March 1900, and is printed in Six Plays by David Belasco (Boston: Little, Brown, 1923); Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, based on Belasco’s play, premiered at Milan in February 1904.
In the context of this study the most important of the several works written by members of the Perry Expedition is Perry’s official account itself, Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, ed. Francis Hawks (1856, D2); the ‘scholar envoys’ include Algernon Mitford (D4), Percival Lowell (D6), W. G. Aston (D13), George Sansom (D22), and Ernest Satow (Ap), all associated with the diplomatic corps, and F. V. Dickens (D3) and Frank Brinkley (D14), sent to Yokohama by the Royal Navy and British Army, respectively; nineteenth-century travellers to Japan, some of whom remained in the country for many years, include Rudyard Kipling, Edwin Arnold, Henry Adams, William Sturgis Bigelow (Ap), and the artists Josiah Condor, Frank Dillon, Christopher Dresser, Alfred East, George Henry, Edward Atkinson Hornel, John La Farge (Ap), Mortimer Menpes, Alfred William Parsons, John Varley, Jr., and Charles Wirgman; important figures who taught at the Imperial University at Tokyo include Basil Hall Chamberlain (D5), Lafcadio Hearn (D9), Ernest Fenollosa (D10), Karl Florenz (D11), and Edward Morse (Ap); the earliest of the Japanese writers whose works in English are important to this study are Inazô Nitobe, Yonejirô Noguchi (D15), and Kakuzô Okakura (D16).
 An OCLC search limited to books about Japan in English published between 1854 and 1903 yields 4,589 titles; many of these would be different editions of the same work, but discrete titles number perhaps as many as 3,500.
 Earl Miner, The Japanese Tradition in British and American Literature, p. 270.
 Earl Miner, ‘Our Heritage of Japanese Drama’ (1972, A47), p. 590; Miner makes similar points in ‘Japan’s Contribution to Western Literature and the Arts’ (1968, A41) and ‘The Significance of Japan to Western Literatures’ (1968, A42); among writers on the subject after Miner a number note errors made by particular poets in interpreting Japanese subjects, but only two focus directly on the distance between representation and represented: Kathleen Flanagan, in ‘The Orient as Pretext for Aesthetic Revolution in Modern Poetry in English’ (1987, A65), ‘Far Eastern Art and Modern American Poetry’ (1993, A67), and ‘The Orient as Pretext for Aesthetic and Cultural Revolution in Modern American Poetry’ (1994, A68); and Rolf J. Goebel, in ‘Japan as Western Text: Roland Barthes, Richard Gordon Smith, and Lafcadio Hearn’, Comparative Literature Studies 30 (1993): 188-205.
 Earl Miner, The Japanese Tradition in British and American Literature, p. 269.