The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Visitors to the Pit (Yama) around 1899 #1: Renga Performers
1964 - 1967

Meiji Sanju Ninen Zengo Yama no Homonsha #1: Renga-shi
[Visitors to the Pit (Yama) around 1899 #1: Renga Performers]
37.9 x 53.8 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

(Creator's Additional Notes: No Japanese fiddle (kokyu), which was reportedly similar to but smaller than a shamisen, was seen in the pit. It is said that many people confuse a kokyu with a kokin or huqin.)
In the evenings from spring to autumn, performers in student-like clothes would sometimes visit also the bleak coal pit, which had no amusement facility. They usually played songs, such as Sutoraiki and Hokai which were popular at that time, and later also played Kiteki Issei. Among their repertoires, exchanging riddles with each other pleased and excited the audience most. One of them rhythmically plucked the four-steel-stringed Chinese lute called a gekkin or yueqin, and the other vividly played the two-stringed ladle-shaped Chinese bamboo fiddle called a kokin or huqin with a bow with horse-tail strings. Their performance had the power to attract the people in the coal pit. The people in the pit at that time did not know the sophisticated word renga-shi and called them yoru no nagashi geinin, or wandering night performers. (It is said that a large-size kokin has four strings and is called a keikin.)

[Translator's Notes: Renga originally means linked verses or poems but the renga here seemingly means singing songs one after another. The creator wrote renga in Chinese characters meaning both linked verses and love songs.]

Text at the Bottom Left
Afterwards, they tried to sell popular song books, books on common practices, or legal manuals, and so on to the audience.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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