The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Performers and Vendors Who Visited the Pit (Yama) in the Meiji Era (1868-1912):{}Metalware Repairer (Who Was Called an Imonoshi or a Caster in Factories)
March 1966

Meiji Yama o Otozureshi Geinin Shonin: Ikakeya (Kojo de wa Imonoshi)
[Performers and Vendors Who Visited the Pit (Yama) in the Meiji Era (1868-1912):
Metalware Repairer (Who Was Called an Imonoshi or a Caster in Factories)]
38.1 x 54.1 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

He hung from his yoke a small toy-like bellows and a kit box packed with tools, such as a crucible, a pocket furnace, sandy silt, and so on.
At that time, all metalware was made of pig iron (zuku) casting, and it often broke. An ikakeya sometimes visited the coal pit to repair (sosokuru in our dialect) cracks, or chips in broken metalware, such as brimmed rice-cooking pots, other cooking pots, and kettles called chabins (tetsubin).
He set up his tools in an open space and visited every house to gather metalware to be repaired. Some householders also brought their broken wares to him. After gathering a certain number of items to be repaired, he started his job. He repaired it by sticking kneaded silt on cracks before pouring melted metal into the cracks. Brass was the best metal for filling in such cracks. The old brass objects brought from each house were mainly used for this purpose.
(All the tools he used were small.)

Creator's Notes: Not only ikakeyas but also ironworkers call a defective product from their failures "O-Shaka" (or peke). This word originally comes from rejects which were molded by imonoshis. They were useless, like the Shakyamni (O-Shaka-sama) Buddha heads (which were mistakenly molded for other Buddha statues). Ironworkers still use this word now.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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