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Down and Out in Late Meiji Japan$
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James L. Huffman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780824872915

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824872915.001.0001

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Earning a Living

Earning a Living

Movers and Servers

(p.68) Chapter 3 Earning a Living
Down and Out in Late Meiji Japan

James L. Huffman

University of Hawai'i Press

This category included the most visible hinin, the ones who enabled the cities to operate every day. The movers did myriad jobs: working on trains, delivering mail, pulling carts, collecting night soil. They were represented especially by the shafu or rickshaw pullers—some 40,000 of them in Tokyo alone at the peak. Individualistic and colourful, yet capable of organized action, they are treated here as symbols of the entire modernity project. The server category also included a great variety of workers, among them shampooers and masseuses, shop apprentices, bath house workers (sansuke), performers, and rag pickers. Considerable attention is paid to the inbaifu or unlicensed prostitutes, many of whom were housewives operating outside the legal entertainment world symbolized in the Yoshiwara brothel quarters. All in this category received very low wages, and women earned less than men.

Keywords:   Shafu (rickshaw pullers), Sansuke (bath house workers), Rag pickers, Inbaifu (unlicensed prostitutes), Yoshiwara

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