The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Vendors Who Visited the Pit (Yama): Ginger Vendor
June 1966

Yama o Otozureshi Shonin: Shoga-uri
[Vendors Who Visited the Pit (Yama): Ginger Vendor]
38.1 x 54.2 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

There is an old Japanese saying that ginger vendors "use up all their earnings for food as soon as they sell out their goods," which adults often said. I wonder if it was because their business was not profitable. It was very hard and tiresome work for them to carry two big bamboo baskets called tebos filled with heavy ginger on a yoke, and sell it from morning till night. Moreover, ginger is a seasoning which families did not often buy or use very much.
The tebos were made very well and so tightly woven that no grain of white rice could leak from them. Each basket was big enough to carry more than 60 kg of rice. It was about 50 cm in height and diameter, having a round rim and a square bottom. Ginger may not be lighter than rice in certain situations. However, I do not think a ginger vendor carried more than 60 kg of ginger in each tebo at a time. Around 1897, ginger cost 6 sen (0.06 yen) for 160 momme or a kin (600 g), and sweet potatoes cost 1 sen (0.01 yen) or 1 sen 5 rin (0.015 yen) per kin. The price of ginger was comparatively high around 1897.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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