The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Phonograph or Today's Record Player Introduced to the Pit (Yama) around 1899-1900
November 1965

Meiji Sanju Ni-san-nen Koro Yama o Otozureru Hatsuonki, Genkon no Chikuonki
[Phonograph or Today's Record Player Introduced to the Pit (Yama) around 1899-1900]
38.0 x 54.1 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Miners showed great interest in this device and said, "Hey, here comes a speaking machine." (The world is so rapidly developing that a machine was invented to preserve our voices like storing coal.) Listening to the hatsuonki one time for five minutes cost 2 sen (0.02 yen) and many people enjoyed listening to the sounds from the machine.
Only adults could pay that much money, so children could hardly enjoy the sounds. Even the gentlest mother could not afford to give her children so much money, and endured their incessant requests. Children could get no more than 5 rin or 5 kin (0.005 yen). They could get 1 sen (0.01 yen) only when they accomplished some hard task such as shopping or message running for their parents. It was natural because 1 sho (1.8 liters) of polished rice cost 10 sen (0.1 yen) at that time.
This hatsuonki had a yellow cylinder or tube 90 mm in diameter and about 10 cm in length, supposedly made of some metal. The Boushut's tube was turned like a lathe and people listened to the sound through a pair of black rubber tubes combined together, and worn in both ears like a stethoscope used by a doctor. The phonograph man played records with a horn like a morning glory in order to gather people, but the sounds were too loud to understand the lyrics.
Adults said that the songs heard from it were Yoneyama Jinku, Shinonome Bushi, Niagari Shin-nai, Hokai, Yakkorasa, etc.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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