Group portrait of an elegant Japanese woman in a kago (palanquin) carried by two bearers.
The bearers have traditional hairstyles and clothing and are holding ikizue (breath sticks) to regulate their breathing while walking. They are wearing straw sandals. A paper umbrella is placed on the roof, the common place to put the luggage of passengers.
A kago is a palanquin suspended by a single crossbeam which is carried by two men. A cushion was used to absorb shocks. The sides were usually left open, but could also be encased by screens. On this photograph, the straw screen has been rolled onto the roof. It may therefore be a shitekago, a type of kago made of four bamboo poles and braided bamboo sticks with a straw screen attached.
Many types existed for each social class and purpose. The shitekago was used by the general public. Completely encased palanquins also existed and were called koshi.
This form of transportation was very popular in Japan until it was replaced by the jinrikisha (rickshaw) in the late 19th century, which in its turn was replaced by the taxi.
Reference for Citations
Duits, Kjeld (). 1880s: Woman in Kago, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on June 26, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/25/1880s-woman-in-kago
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