The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Visitors to the Pit (Yama) in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) (The Peddler of Ochini's Medicine)
1964 - 1967

Meiji Yama no Homonsha (Ochini no Baiyaku Gyoshonin)
[Visitors to the Pit (Yama) in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) (The Peddler of Ochini's Medicine)]
37.9 x 53.8 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

"Ochini" was written in three katakana phonograms. Instead of the katakana representing [o], the one representing [wo] was used. In horizontal writing, these katakanas were written from the right to the left.

This painting shows the smart peddler of Ochini's medicine who began to appear in the pit from around the spring of 1908. He wore a fine cap as if it were for a station official or a superintendent and a shoulder bag for medicine at his waist. He also hung his small accordion around his neck, and played it to the song he sang, stepping with the beat. (The following is a parody of his song sung by the children at that time.)

"Osaka Nishi-ku wa Itachibori,
Nihon-ichi Yakuho de na mo takai.
Kono mata kusuri no kono wa,
jiisan baasan no mushikudashi,
kodomo no koshiita, kata no kori.
Sono hoka nambyo mo sugu naoru.
Ochini no kusuri wa yoku kiku ne."

"Itachibori in Nishi-ku, Osaka is very famous
for our Nihon-ichi pharmaceutical company.
Our medicine has immediate effects
on the worms of the elderly,
the backaches and stiff shoulders of children,
and other obstinate diseases.
Ochini's medicine works very well."

Additionally, he was popular among the children in the pit because he handed a crude octavo of Japanese paper for calligraphy (or western paper) with his figure printed in red to each child. However, he suddenly stopped visiting the pit two or three years later.
It is said that this type of accordion (tefukin) was invented by an Austrian named Tamiani (Damian) and it was once called a hand organ.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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