The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Various Social Conditions

Celebrating the Coronation of Emperor Taisho
April 1966

Taisho Tenno Go-sokui-shiki no Nigiwai
[Celebrating the Coronation of Emperor Taisho]
38.1 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Top Right
At 3:30 p.m. on November 10, 1915, the whole nation prostrated themselves to the imperial palace and gave three "Banzai" cheers for seijo tenno or present emperor. On the 14th and 16th, the coronation ceremony and celebration were held respectively.
At that time, people in Kaho County celebrated the coronation with a parade mainly composed of various floats, such as a big gourd and a sake cup from Aso Kamimio Coal Pit in Iizuka town, a big treasure ship (of the seven fortune deities) from Aso San-nai Coal Pit, a float with performers of o-kagura (dance and music dedicated to gods/godesses) from Kamimio Village, a doll of the fabulous first Japanese emperor Jimmu from Shimomio, a float showing the scene of the legend of Amano-iwato from Kayanomori together with decorated cattle offered by each family in the village, a doll of a legendary tragic hero Prince Takeru Yamato from Komoda, and two other floats related to Japanese deities from Tateiwa and Namazuda. All of them gathered at Iizuka Town Hall to compete with each other. Kamimio team won first prize.

Text at the Top Left
Song Lyrics
1. Bonchi kawai nenne shina,
Shinagawa joroshu ga ju momme,
ju momme no teppo-dama,
tama ya ga kawai. Suppompon! Suppompon!

Sweet young master, Johnny, go to sleep,
ladies in Shinagawa will treat you for ten momme,
ten momme is the weight of a musket ball,
and Musket Ball (a cat's name) is so lovely. It's stark naked (suppompon)!

[Translator's Notes: This is a traditional and comical shiritori song peculiar to Japan, in which the first word(s) of each verse except the first one begin(s) with the last word(s) of the previous verse. The meaning of these lyrics is very ambiguous, and the above translation merely shows one of the interpretations which can be concluded.
"Nenne shina" of the first verse is an old expression used when parents tell their little children to "go to sleep." "Shinagawa" used to be the last post town on the road from Kyoto to Edo and "momme" in the same verse represents a silver coin used in the Edo era (1603-1867), which equaled 1 yen in the Meiji era (1868-1912).
"Momme" in the third verse was a unit of weight in the Edo era, which equaled to 3.75 grams. The "dama" of "teppo-dama" stands for "ball" and its original form is "tama." "Tama" changes to "dama" when it was placed after another word like "teppo (gun or musket)."
"Tama" represents spherical things in general and has many meanings, such as "ball," "musket ball or bullet," "jewel," "pearl," "bulb," "lens," "beautiful lady," "geisha," "testicle," etc. Additionally, "Tama" is the most typical name given to cats.]

2. Kurumaya-san! Kurumaya-san!
Koko kara Iizuka made nambo toru?
Daibenkyo de jugosen.
Sansen make toke, akachokobe.

Rickshaman! Rickshaman!
What is the fare from here to Iizuka?
15 sen is the discount fare.
Drop 3 sen (0.03 yen), or I won't use your rickshaw.

The big yellow gourd from Kamimio Coal Pit was made of a bamboo framework and paper coverings. It was 3 meters in diameter and 5 meters in length. It was tough for people to pull it around a town. Of all the people in costume, pit staff in yakko (the lowest-ranking samurai) costumes really stood out.
Creator's Notes: The celebration of Emperor Taisho's coronation was grander than that of present Emperor Showa's.

Lettering on the Large Sake Cup and the Folding Fan
hoshuku: celebration
shukuten: festival

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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