The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Conjurer Showing Prestidigitation Called Kiai-jutsu (Toad Oil Vendor)
March 1966

Meiji Yama o Otozureshi Geinin Shonin: Kiai-jutsu (Gamanoabura-uri)
[Performers and Vendors Who Visited the Pit (Yama) in the Meiji Era (1868-1912):
[Conjurer Showing Prestidigitation Called Kiai-jutsu (Toad Oil Vendor)]
38.1 x 54.1 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text on the Right
This performer bent iron hibashis (metal chopsticks used to pick up charcoal) with his little finger as if they were candy crafts, or fastened a big rock to a wooden stick to stand the stick upright on the bottom rim of an upended yunomi (tea cup). Also, he picked a child out from the audience and asked the child to put his/her hand on his/her head, making it unable to be raised. This was a trick and the child was instructed by the conjurer to do so.
This conjurer called a yashi was a slick talker and recommended the audience to buy secret manuals on Kiai-jutsu. At first, he said that only 20 people in the audience could buy them, but he later tried to sell more, taking out dozens of the books one after another.
Another trick involved showing a dried crocodile of 40 cm long to attract people, lying that it would begin to move under the influence of sunlight and gravity.

Text below the Inset
This man was called a gamanoabura-uri, and he sold so-called toad oil as an ointment. He took out a short Japanese sword called a wakizashi or a shoto with a blade of about 40 to 50 centimeters long. First, he showed its sharpness by cutting a piece of paper with it into very small pieces. Next, he also cut his left upper arm with this sword and let it bleed. After that, he immediately cured his wound by applying his toad oil on it before the audience. He had many scars on his left arm and they looked rather terrible. When he put the toad oil on the blade of his sword, the sword became dull. This conjurer was also talkative. He pushed the edge of the sword along his cheek and see-sawed it, but the cheek was not cut at all, though it moved with the blade.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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