The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Cockhorse Entertainer Who Visited the Pit (Yama) during the New Year's Holidays
December 1965

Yama no Homonsha Harukoma Shogatsu
[Cockhorse Entertainer Who Visited the Pit (Yama) during the New Year's Holidays]
38.2 x 54.0 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Everyone at coal pits in the Chikuho region during the Meiji era (1868-1912) celebrated every New Year by the lunar calendar, because even the people living outside the pits did not adopt the New Calendar. They also celebrated other seasonal festivals, such as the Bon Festivals, and festivals related to the deities or Buddha. Coal pits stopped mining from the first day until the third day of the New Year by the lunar calendar. During the holidays, each coal pit also received some visitors bringing good fortune. (The picture shows the harukoma cockhorse entertainer who visited every house and bucked there.)

Lyrics of the Song Sung by the Cockhorse Entertainer

Yah, medetai na Oshogatsu.
Koma ga isameba ki mo isamu.
Kotoshi Shogatsu medetai na.
Saita sakura ni naze koma tsunagu?
Koma ga isameba patto hana ga chiru.

Yah, Happy New Year!
If a horse bucks and neighs, we also get excited.
Happy New Year to you all!
Why do we tie a horse to a blossoming cherry tree?
It is because the cherry blossom petals will fly as the horse bucks and neighs.

He held a stick with some bells and a rattle in his hands, and wore a paper horse instead of riding it. He shook his waist to move the head and the bottom of the paper horse.
The horse head was made of paper and the body was made of a long bamboo basket (nagajoke) with a hole in the center. He inserted his legs and waist into the hole and held the paper horse with suspenders. His aim was begging rice cakes. He received so many rice cakes that even a real horse would have gotten tired and could not have carried them all. Even poor families without other foods had lots of rice cakes because rice was not rationed at that time. Children would walk with the paper horse because it did not kick them.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

<<Last pictorial record    Next pictorial record>>

<<Last 10 items  11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17|18 | 19 | 20 |   Next 10 Items>>