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View Poll Results: What are your favourite periods in Japanese history ?

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  • Jomon (prehistory)

    13 10.92%
  • Yayoi (prehistory)

    11 9.24%
  • Kofun & asuka (early kingdoms : 300-710)

    14 11.76%
  • Nara & Heian (710-1185)

    28 23.53%
  • Kamakura (first, Minamoto-Hojo shogunate : 1185-1333)

    17 14.29%
  • Muromachi (Ashikaga shogunate 1333-1568)

    17 14.29%
  • Azuchi-Momoyama (great leaders : 1568-1600)

    27 22.69%
  • Edo (the closed country & Tokugawa shogunate : 1600-1867)

    46 38.66%
  • Bakumatsu (late Edo)

    24 20.17%
  • Meiji (the Westernization 1868-1912)

    25 21.01%
  • Taisho (social upheavals : 1912-1926)

    8 6.72%
  • Early Showa (militarism and WWII : 1926-1945)

    14 11.76%
  • US Occupation (1945-1952)

    10 8.40%
  • Late Showa (peace and economic miracle : 1952-1989)

    11 9.24%
  • Heisei (economic decline and post-modern culture)

    15 12.61%
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Thread: What is your favourite period in Japanese history ?

  1. #26
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    Jomon,Yayoi,Asuka,Kamakura,Bakumatsu
    Interesting for me.

  2. #27
    Danshaku Sadako sadakoyamamura's Avatar
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    My first choice is Early Showa because its the time they occupied my country but for me past is past.


    Second choice is Edo to Meiji seeing how at first they were an 'island' to 'no man is an island' which is why they finally opened their doors.
    That posterity may know we have not loosely through silence permitted things to pass away as in a dream. Richard Hooker

  3. #28
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    Hehe - Bakumatsu was indeed. Thogu wouldn't the Meiji period also be one of mystery and intrigue? ;0

  4. #29
    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroshi66
    Hehe - Bakumatsu was indeed. Thogu wouldn't the Meiji period also be one of mystery and intrigue? ;0
    Yes, it was, I just realy like the gumption of Tosa, Satsuma, and Choshu and all them types...
    "It's a d**n poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word."


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  5. #30
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    Yeah.

    Shinsengumi is a pretty good example of that..

  6. #31
    Regular Member smig's Avatar
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    It's fascinating how differently Japan and China coped in the late 19th century. Japan embraced change and preserved its sovereignty, culture and traditions. China was too arrogant to admit that the 'foreign devils' had surpassed them in technology... and wanted to preted they didn't exist. Mind you, the Opium Wars were hardly a good PR exercise for the British Empire: Buy our drugs, or we'll wipe you out!

    Mind you it is interesting to compare two different but similar countries: Germany and Japan. I am not really convinced that the Japanese (ie wider Japanese society) really confronted the reality of the atrocities that Japanese Forces committed in WWII. To their credit, US forced German townspeople to face up to what happened. People were made to see films. And if you lived near a camp, you had to help clean it up and bury the bodies, under armed supervision. Which meant that Germans couldn't deny what happened and couldn't NOT confront their action and inaction. German culture, identity were violently shaken and changed.
    Japan, however, is different. I saw a documentary, in which Japanese veterans of the Chinese campaign admitted to the atrocities they had seen and committed. The men interviewed ranged from officers to privates. They were all in their eighties. Some of them were incacerated in Chinese prisons and released in the 50's. They said that people in Japan didn't believe them, and declared them to have been brain-washed by the Communist Chinese.
    In addition to this I can speak from an australian perspective. My grandfather was a soldier in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Borneo. I talked to him and many other australian veterans of the Pacific war. One man I talked to had personally seen how native village children had been crippled by Japanese soldiers. Experiences like Changi POW Camp, the POW experiences of the Burma Railway, etc, scarred a generation of Australians. Young people are surprised at how the "Nips" or "Japs" are so detested by veterans, sometimes - but you need to understand this in context of the times. I saw an interview with an australian POW who was tortured, and part of the slave labour used in Burma. He said that he initially hated the Japanese, but after having 'worked' (=slave labour) in Japan, he saw that the other Japanese labourers were starving and suffering like him. He said that he realised, that in fact what he hated was militarism and fascism, and mindless, unconditional obedience to leaders.
    My point in recounting this, is that I have never been convinced that Japan suffered the same shock that Germany did. Was their society shaken to the roots like German society? Do they remember these events now? Do they have a national musuem (like das Haus der Geschichte in Bonn) where you cannot enter without confronting the fascist past? I suspect that all these horrific events were not really comprehended and not really confronted. Is there a national memorial in Tokyo to the Chinese who were killed, enslaved, and raped? Are the Japanese paying money to survivors? They have certainly never compensated Australian victims, and to my knowledge won't even acknowledge that it happened. Germany is by no means perfect but it serves as a very interesting contrast.
    One final point: are Japanese schoolchildren taught these things, or do we jump from Meiji to Manga without breaking a sweat?

    PS There is a Holocaust memorial about the size of a football field in Berlin. Designed by Daniel Liebkind i believe. When I saw it in 2003 it wasn't yet built.

  7. #32
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    I think it depends on the district and the school. There have been accusations against Japanese textbooks not supplying material about World War II. China and South Korea have complained about this. Its wrong, don't get me the wrong way.. but let's take a look at the two nations who have complained. Do China's textbooks say of its atrocities in Tibet and against right-wings or even moderates? Do South Korea's textbooks tell of the violence of the Rhee regime against remaining Japanese left in South Korea? I know Australia's tells of its violence against aboriginal tribes, just like those of the US and Canada. But Japan isn't the only textbook editing country in East Asia.

  8. #33
    Nihon ni itai na... wintersweet's Avatar
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    Ah, I'm sad that the Heian period isn't so popular. The clothes alone are enough to make me fall in love with it. ;)
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  9. #34
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    Hehe. Heian is more of the literary student's favorite period.

  10. #35
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    By the way, we have a new Japanese History section on Japan Reference. It is divided in 20 periods from Jomon to Heisei.

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  11. #36
    Um...okay
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    By the way, we have a new Japanese History section on Japan Reference. It is divided in 20 periods from Jomon to Heisei.
    Nicely done. THanks for the link.

  12. #37
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    Yes, indeed.

    Have you noticed there are more college classes on Heian literature than on Heian history?>

  13. #38
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    I personally like the eras preceeding the WW era, especially preceeding the Genro, and their military agendas. The days of the Bakufu and their reign during the shogunate of the Tokugawa clan, I think were some of Japans greatest years. The Bakufu refined all of the Martial Arts of Japan, especially regarding the daimyo and their use of the samurai as a means of acquiring more land holdings. THe shogun was wise in consolidating the ninjas under his authority and placing them under his command.
    gTo every man there comes a time in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent; what a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.h

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  14. #39
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    Guys is it true that some peopel regard the capital of Japan to still be at Kyotou? I heard that somewhere.

  15. #40
    Cat lover Apollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiroshi66
    Guys is it true that some peopel regard the capital of Japan to still be at Kyotou? I heard that somewhere.
    No, this I never heard.....maybe ages ago it was still considered the capital in the years 794-1869, when it was the capital and the city where the Emperor resided.

    However, one could say that Kyoto is still the capital of Japanese culture...(with its university, porcelain manufactory etc..)

  16. #41
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    Thanks for your help.

    That's true - but it hasn't been the political capital since 1869 right?

  17. #42
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Help please, Hiroshi66 san!

    I haven't studied Japanese history, I feel a bit awkward about putting my vote in for statistics. However, I am interested in the way Japan handled itself in its encounters with the West and US, which I perceive is the main reason why Japan was able to preserve so much of its culture and history. By Weternizing of its own will, it was able to preserve its cultural identity in a unique way, even after losing a major war. This is why I voted for the Meiji Period, not because I knew the other periods so as to make a balanced judgement. There I agree with SMIG.

    Quote Originally Posted by smig
    It's fascinating how differently Japan and China coped in the late 19th century. Japan embraced change and preserved its sovereignty, culture and traditions. China was too arrogant to admit that the 'foreign devils' had surpassed them in technology... and wanted to preted they didn't exist. Mind you, the Opium Wars were hardly a good PR exercise for the British Empire: Buy our drugs, or we'll wipe you out!
    In the rest of my post, I'd like to ask your opinion on two small topics involving Japan's role in the invention of the RICKISHA and the RIAKA. I was originally interested in RIAKA in that it has been an essential transportation tool in everyday life for many people. I myself have used it for moving, and was intersted that a Japanese gentleman did likewise just recently. I have seen photos of the RIAKA being pulled in Mongolia.

    But written historical data on the RIAKA is pretty sparse on the web. A Japanese auto parts manufacturer Bridgestone was the only place that mentioned anything, that it was "invented in the 1910's," and that the name RIA-CAR was an attractive name to the Kapanese then. After wasting some time on the web, I posted a thread under history section entitled "Who invented the RIAKA?" but no one seems to know. As for this subject, I am out of leads. Do you have any suggestions?

    In the course of my digging, I've come across a good number of references to the RIKISHA, and began to wonder if the RICKSHAW could be an invention parallel to the RIAKA. However, I've found about 6 different versions of origin each claiming a different story. How do historians cope with conflicting information? Could you suggest how I might proceed from here?

    Merry Christmans!
    Last edited by lexico; Dec 24, 2004 at 20:42.

  18. #43
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    Hello lexico, I would love to help...but could you please tell me what the Riaka is? I know what a rickshaw is of course - but I am not familiar with a Riaka..

  19. #44
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Why isn't Japan teaching history like the Germans?

    Quote Originally Posted by smig
    My point in recounting this, is that I have never been convinced that Japan suffered the same shock that Germany did. Was their society shaken to the roots like German society? Do they remember these events now? Do they have a national musuem (like das Haus der Geschichte in Bonn) where you cannot enter without confronting the fascist past? I suspect that all these horrific events were not really comprehended and not really confronted. Is there a national memorial in Tokyo to the Chinese who were killed, enslaved, and raped? Are the Japanese paying money to survivors? They have certainly never compensated Australian victims, and to my knowledge won't even acknowledge that it happened. Germany is by no means perfect but it serves as a very interesting contrast.
    One final point: are Japanese schoolchildren taught these things, or do we jump from Meiji to Manga without breaking a sweat?

    PS There is a Holocaust memorial about the size of a football field in Berlin. Designed by Daniel Liebkind i believe. When I saw it in 2003 it wasn't yet built.
    Coming from a Korean's perspective:
    (I've used double quotation marks whenever appropriate, meaning that although the "pejorative word" might be there, I do not necessarily subscribe to what it represents.)

    As I recall, the historical Japanese, the "Wae" people, are depicted in Korean elementary schools as "uncivilized, cruel, and greedy pirates" who would raid Ancient Korea's coastal villages in search for food supplies when there was famine. We are taught of the atrocities of the Japanese invaders during the Choson-Japanese Wars during the 1600's, and how bravely Koreans fought off these "abnoxious war mongers." We are taught of the inhumanity of the Japanese rule of Korea from 1910, and how "deservedly" Japan was defeated by the US, "by the two Atomic Bombs that wiped out two rural cities."

    In high school, these "subhuman" images of Japan and its people only get reinforced, while most students never have a chance to know Japan, its people, or its culture on a personal level. It is difficult to imagine for a pre-college school kid that what he/she is being fed in school may have been screened or manipulated to satisfy the needs of the older generations, because of the trust that exists between teacher and student.

    My turning point from the systematically planned "anti-Japanese" values came when I started making Japanese friends. One Mr. Nada, a second generation Japanese American, told me that his father left Japan for good because his father could not agree with the government's "policy of agression." One Japanese-American classmate I've known for a year would consistently engage in historical research of Japan's "ignoble role" in Asia before, during, and after the 2nd WW which amazed me at first. I also learned of the many Japanese dissdents, some religious, some political, some consciencious, who perished in the jails for opposing to Japan's colonist and discriminatory policies during that period. This experience thaught me that wholesale Japan bashing is pure nonsense. Just like in any country, everybody is different, and so are the Japanese. Some good, some bad, and the majority that goes along. Not at all alike.

    Now coming to the question that you raised, I am more hesitent to raise a positive voice in favor of Japan. In a mixed language class composed of Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, and European students, history often became the topic for free discussion. And you could probably guess what students from Korea and Taiwan would want to know; WWII and the role of Japan and Germany. The German students were both knowledgeable of and apologetic for their country's military agression and the damage it caused. I am quite sure that's not enough for a Jewish student, but for me, it did symbolic justice. It was a start for Germany, and there might be a strong chance that it (invasion, expulsion, Auschwitz) would never happen again. But one Japanese classmate's response was rather shocking. I can't remember the exact wording, but it went something like this;

    "I don't know what you are talking about. I never heard Japan did anything bad. Now I want to talk about something else."

    I could not believe my ears. I have never expected such "trash," or insincere language, to come out of a civilized person's mouth. The funny thing was nobody could get mad outright because this Japanese student had a clean slate of conscience. I don't know about the Taiwanese students, but we got mad after class. Still it was difficult to decide to whom the anger should be directed. We just kept repeating "oh, the Japanese!" It was one of those wierd experiences that stuck to my head. Obviously schools in Japan weren't teaching much about WWII.

    The only possible reason I can think of is this: the magnitude of shock the two atomic bombs have left on Japanese' minds was so great and so painful that they decided to forget everything leading to the two explosions. (I found subtle traces of the A-bomb in films such as Akira or Gozira, but Barefoot Gen was more outspoken.) Wiping out all the messy details of the war and what lead to it, including the late 19th c. expansionist activities, human experiments at Guandong unit 731, and the Nanjing massacre were all coveniently covered up. Possibly the moral responsibility was too grave to bear, especially with Mr. Hirohito's active role during the most atrocious years.

    One novelist known for his historical fiction "Maruta" interviewed several medical ex-empolyees of unit 731 in the course of his writing. He confessed in the forword: "I drew a rather dramatic picture of the Japanese at unit 731, tormented by the cruelty offered to the human subjects. The reasaon I did this is simple. I know of no way to create a piece of art that is indifferent to another human being's suffering. Therefore I humanized them; in reality no one that I interviewed had any sense of remorse about it. They were simply doing their jobs as professionals. I had to create a couple of conscience-torn figures to make the story work, and that was the most fictional part of my story."

    I know that the medical experts from 731 were re-empolyed by the US occupation forces to convey their research results from human experiments to the US, and were given amnesty for their services. I learned in a college course that such information not only contributed to the advancement of US medicine but was also the source of the Hanta virus, supposedly dropped over lower Manchuria by the US just before/after(?) the Chinese invasion of Korea in 1953. I feel betrayed by the historical process that uses Chinese, Korean, and dissident Japanese civilians as guinea pigs to develop a biological weapon that ends up on their very heads in less than 10 years. The dead to not speak of course, but quite a few S.Koreans have suffered and died of this deadly virus; I do not know how many N.Koreans or Chinese died of it.

    If what I've read is true, then the US, with its active interest in the NW Pacific costal Asia, had its fair share of responsibility by playing God, condemning (fat-man & little boy) or forgiving (doling out amnesty for Mr. Hirohito, medical experts, etc.) at whim. So I could say that the Japanese during the US occupation were reluctant to record the details of its recent past, and that this trend was reinforced by the US occupation sending a subtle message that "as long as you cooperate with us, we'll let you forget everything. We gave you the A-bombs, and we're not sorry about it. So why should you be sorry about what you did?" I don't know if this makes a lot of sense, but that's what I think. I do not think that consciencious individuals are nonexistent in Japan, however, it will take a quantum leap for their voices to become mainstream. Yes, I believe the Japanese did suffer tremendously, and they were the first to get hit with Einstein's monster. There was no precedent. It is difficult to judge them when I think about that.

    (This is another topic, but the Russians have been testing nuclear bombs in NE Siberia which nearly wiped out the aboriginal Chukchis. This is disturbing, too. See http://www.eki.ee/books/redbook/chukchis.shtml)

    Merry Christmas, SMIG!
    Last edited by lexico; Dec 25, 2004 at 10:58. Reason: illogical, weak support

  20. #45
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    This is great, Hiroshi66 sensei!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroshi66
    Hello lexico, I would love to help...but could you please tell me what the Riaka is? I know what a rickshaw is of course - but I am not familiar with a Riaka..
    (Somehow my post to yours disappeared, so I hope it works this time!)

    I feel relieved already!

    You can think of a RIAKA as a huge hand cart normally pulled or pushed by one person. It has a metal frame, two rubber tubed wheels, and a sturdy U shaped handle for easy maneuver. No springs, but tires and ball bearings ensure smooth driving.

    The primary use of the RIAKA in Korea is moving all kinds of stuff: households, agricultural goods, gardening materials, construction materials, fire wood (in the olden times), recyclables, and anything you can imagine.

    The second use would be commercial vending stalls; food stalls with cooking facility installed such as stove, casserol, grill, and hot plate; music stalls with tape or CD racks; clothing; candy; toys; fruit; caked coal; seafood; household goods; sundry; etc.

    One interesting commercial use would be the "Band-Wagon Bar" where you can get a quicky; a shot, or a bottle of distilled alcohol with a variety of chasers; very popular and very cheap! I hear Japan has these commercial varieties also.

    Another interesting application would be its emergency use as an ambulance; for example in the 1961 April 19 Students Uprising in Korea, initial casualties were hand carted to the hospitals and morgues using the RIAKA. I've heard of a similar use during the 1989 Beijing Incident, but this could be the bicycle trailer, not sure. In Khazakhstan, the poor who cannot afford a funeral car use the RIAKA instead.

    To see a picture of this very handy RIA-KA, please go to the thread here http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13742

    A quick description of the three photos:

    photo 1. this old fashioned, mostly wooden cart should be called KURUMA, I think. I'm glad it's still around.

    photo 2. this is RIAKA proper, metal and rubber, modern and slick.

    photo 3. this is a photo from 1935, of a certain YAMADA RIA-KA; you'll notice how the ROMAJI is stylzed with the abberant spelling YAMARTA REAR-CAR. I think this is a legacy of the European/American/Australian dabblings into the BICYCLE TRAILERS, FORE-CARS, REAR-CARS, & SIDECARS of 1895-1903. I do not believe this form of tricylce engine RIAKA falls into the category of RIAKA proper. But its was around back then. I do not know if such tricycles are still around, or whether they are still called REAR-CARS or RIAKA now.

    I hope this helps, so you can help me. But any questions you have, I'm more than ready to post more texts and pics.

    In the mean time, I wish you Merry Christmas, a white one if you're in the Northern Hemisphere!

  21. #46
    Ooh, i'm a green belt. Kamisama's Avatar
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    The part of history where ninjas and samurai were out in the open fighting each other in front of people. Yeah that part of history. Where stuff was intense and ninjas could jump buildings.

  22. #47
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    Well - it seems that the Rickshaw is used to carry people while the Riaka is used in more rural societies to carry things.

  23. #48
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroshi66
    Well - it seems that the Rickshaw is used to carry people while the Riaka is used in more rural societies to carry things.
    I believe that would be a correct distinction between the two. And as you may have noticed, they share basically the same mechanical structure and principle. Which is why I suspect the old-fashioned, wooden KURUMA became redisgned with Western materials and was restyled RIAKA.

    Or reversely, maybe the two-wheeled Western trailer became adapted to Japan competing with the KURUMA, and won out over the KURUMA, or absorbed it.

    The RIKISHA may have been a hybrid of the Western horse carriage and the Japanese KURUMA.

    The isolated facts are there, but I still need concrete evidence to support any kind of thesis regarding the actual evolutionary stages. There should be someone in Japan who did a study on it. I might have to use translators and dig some more. I'll post new findings in the original thread.

    Thanks, Hiroshi66 san, for keeping the discussion going.

  24. #49
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    No problem!! I think that the Riaka may have come from Northern China through the Manchu invaders - and the Rickshaw was in the cities well before. ^^

  25. #50
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    I am stuck with my thesis, Hiroshi!

    I got your message yesterday. Any new historical topics on your mind?

    I am without a lead as to the origin of the Riaka. I can only .
    Is it such a minor topic that nobody is interested in it,
    or was the RIAKA not invented in Japan? Of course there's always the possibility that the information's out there somewhere, I just have to try harder. I sincerely hope so.
    I appreciate your effort; but I still need supporting evidence for that theory. I'm beginning to think this RIAKA thing is going to take some time to figure out.

    Any clue to the inventor of the Rickshaw?
    I have 6 different theories, you want to have a look?
    I'd like your opinion on it, if you're not tied up.

    1. Rev. Jonathan Goble, 1871 (or 1869); ex-US Marine & Baptist Missioanry
    2. Shimooka Renjo, Japanese engineer, also the first Japanese photographer
    3. Francis C. Pollay, US carpenter, ex-US Marine, NY
    (Renjo and Pollay are Goble's acquaintances, friendly, that is.)

    4. Yoosuke Izumi et al., 1869, Japanese businessmen
    5. Rev. E. Jonathan Scobie, 1869; US Baptist Missionary in Yokohama
    6. Albert Tolman, 1848, US blacksmith & carriage maker of Worchester MA

    It appears theory 1. is the most popular in English written sources, and theory 4. in Japanese sources. There's also (although not an inventor)...

    7. James H. Barch, New Jersy wagon manufactuer who exported rickshaws to Japan.

    Can you check in your references (reliable ones) if you can confirm any of these possible inventors of the rickshaw?

    Another question: I might want to make this into a poll asking "Rickshw inventor was......" This would be more like a study of mythologies, but it might be interesting to see how much people knew, and what is being fed to the public.

    The poll might simply ask:
    1. a Japanese
    2. a Chinese
    3. an American (US)
    4. a European
    5. other
    6. don't know

    Or it might ask:

    1. Yosuke Izumi and two colleagues
    2. Shimooka Renjo
    3. Rev. Jonathan Goble
    4. Francis Pollay
    5. Rev. E. Jonathan Scobie
    6. Albert Tolman
    7. James H. Barch
    8. none of the above
    9. don't know

    Or as a third possibility, a combination of plans 1 & 2. (Does the poll allow 2-slayered questionairs?)
    If you have any thoughts about how best I could set up a poll, please let me know. Right now I have two purposes; to get as much information out of the poll as I can, and to make the poll attractive and interesting to get people's attention. Of course, I wouldn't want to make it too complicated.

    Happy New Year, Hiroshi!

    ps. I hate to ask you this; are you really 14? If so, you must be a genius!

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