Taste of Japan

rickshawThe word Rickshaw originates from the Japanese word jinrikisha/human,  riki/power,  sha/vehicle, which literally means human-powered vehicle.

Rickshaws were first seen in Japan around 1868, at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration. They soon became a popular mode of transportation since they were faster than the previously used palanquins and human labor was considerably cheaper than the use of horses.

The identity of the inventor remains uncertain. Some American sources give the American blacksmith Albert Tolman, who is said to have invented the rickshaw around 1848 in Worcester, Massachusetts, for a missionary. Others claim that Jonathan Scobie, an American missionary to Japan, invented the rickshaw around 1869 to transport his invalid wife through the streets of Yokohama. Other scholars think it was Izumi Yosuke, a restaurateur in Tokyo in 1869.

Still others say the rickshaw was designed by an American Baptist minister in 1888. This is undoubtedly incorrect…

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