Photographer's Note

Nara - Yes, life can be beautiful … especially when you’re not the rickshaw runner

The pulled rickshaw is originally a Japanese invention (from the 2nd half of the 19th century).
The name in Japanese, Jin (human) Riki (power) Sha (vehicle) means a vehicle driven by manpower.
Ten years after its invention it had become a very popular way of travel. Then there were more than 150.000 rickshaws in the country.
It became also very popular in many other Asian countries (even in East - and in South Africa).

Residents of rural areas who migrated to large cities in Asia often worked first as a rickshaw runner. Terrible but it was the deadliest occupation. The pullers lived a life of poverty and many slept in the rickshaws.
In Japan the popularity of the rickshaw declined by the 1930s with the arrival of cars and trains.

But today - in a more romantic and nostalgic flurry – the rickshaw is back in Japan, at least in the traffic poorer parts of Nara and Kyoto where there are lots of temples, pagodas and shrines. Also in the district Asakusa in Tokyo, as well a part with many temples and shrines.

In the background you can see the upper part of the Kofuku-ji five-storey pagoda, a landmark and symbol of Nara.
It dates from 1426 and is the second tallest pagoda in the country.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6910 W: 24 N: 16234] (63574)
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