Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Aug 29 13:22:50 UTC 2001

Here is "rickshaw" from 1885 (from MoA Cornell):

"A Chinese Ascot", in _The Living Age_ 166(2148):506 (22 Aug. 1885) [from
"Cornhill Magazine"]:

[referring to Chinese in Hong Kong:]

<<Their means of passenger transport are two -- the light covered armchair
carried by means of bamboo poles on the shoulders of two coolies, and the
rickshaw, a two-wheeled vehicle about the size of a roomy Bath chair,
furnished with a pair of shafts, between which is placed, not a horse, a
mule, a pony, or even a donkey, but one of those unceasingly toiling
Chinese who are of opinion that no labor is too severe, and not even
draught work is derogatory, if there are a few cents to be looked for at
the end. ....

<<"Lickshaw, lickshaw!" -- they cannot manage our "r" -- shout half-a-dozen
eager competitors to the instantly-spied-out Englishman ....>>


Also from MoA Cornell: W. E. Griffis, "Nature and People in Japan", in _The
Century_ 39(2):234 (1889):

<<Mr. Wores patiently completed his canvases on the spot. The result is a
collection unique in faithfulness to truth. All foreign elements and alien
suggestions are absent from his work. Besides exact presentation of
aboriginal nature, he has given in dress, costume, and architecture only
what was of Old Japan before the revolution of 1868. The only exception is,
perhaps, the "jinrikisha," or man-power carriage, invented in 1870.>>


Also from MoA Cornell, from Theodore Wores himself, "An American Artist in
Japan", in _The Century_ 38(5):672 (1889):

<<After an hour's ride in a "jinrikisha," or "kuruma," as these little
man-carriages are more commonly called, we arrived at our destination ....>>

["Kuruma" = "wheel"/"vehicle"/"car" is the native-Japanese or kun-yomi
equivalent of the Sino-Japanese "sha" in "jinrikisha". Nowadays "kuruma"
usually = "automobile" ... but "kuruma isu" = "wheelchair", "kuruma-hiki" =
"rickshaw man", etc. appear in my dictionary.]


In Kipling's famous short story "The Phantom 'Rickshaw", "'rickshaw" is
spelled with an apostrophe throughout, indicating consciousness that the
word is a contraction [of "jinriksha" or so]. This story was published in
1890 I think, set in Simla (in India) in 1884: the 'rickshaw depicted here
as a conventional [Anglo-]Indian conveyance is apparently a more ambitious
paneled vehicle drawn by four men.


In downtown Toronto, Ontario, one can easily hire a rickshaw on the street
today. The rickshaws are powered by collegiate-looking individuals of both
sexes ("those unceasingly toiling Canadians who are of opinion that no
labor is too severe, and not even draught work is derogatory, if there are
a few loonies to be looked for at the end"). They seem to be able to manage
our "r". It says here: one must carefully negotiate a fare in advance.

-- Doug Wilson

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