Palanquin (kago)


Palanquin, sedan chair (kago 篭 / 駕籠 or かご)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Palanquin for a bride. Click for more photos !CLICK for more photos !

A kago (籠, 駕, 駕籠) is a Japanese type of sedan chair, carriage, suspended by a single crossbeam, carried by two men, usually used to transport one person at a time. The front and back of the kago is always covered; the sides can be left open, or encased by folding screens.
This should not be confused with the more elaborate koshi 輿.
Rich people kept their own, like a private car, others were for rent, like a modern taxi.
 © Wikipedia

Woodblock Prints about vehicles in Japan
jinrikisha 人力車 a man-powered vehicle


Palanquin for a feudal lord, daimyoo kago 大名籠

They were decorated with the family crest and like a private luxus limusine of our days.

The princess of OGI-HAN NABESHIMA family (the first family of SAGA NABESHIMA family )used this article. OGI-HAN was about 73,000 bushels of rice (koku) and the Master of it mainly used common name as KAGA NO KAMI or KII NO KAMI.

Since this is for women, 'MAKIE(Japanese lacquer work)' and metallic ornaments are used abundantly and it is very gorgeous. Moreover, it is precious that internal ornament pictures are saved in this perfect state. The contents of pictures are pair birds (which symbolized husband and wife's good relations) and tsuru & tortoise (heron and tortoise, which carried out desire of the long life) , etc.

Furthermore, it is also rare that 'NAGAE' which is a stick for shoulders is equipped fully. Present, fully equipped Daimyo-KAGO are less than ten in JAPAN.
- source : koutouclub.net -


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More Feudal Lord's Palanquins


Palanquin / kago / Japan GOOGLE

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Worldwide use

Things found on the way

The palanquin bearers of Konpira san,
a famous mountain shrine in Shikoku Island


There are so many steps up to the main shrine, many people even nowadays prefere to use a palanquin bearer team to get them up there.

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Konpira san and Daruma


yuki chiru ya o-kago e hakobu nihachi soba

in falling snow
delivered to a palanquin...
buckwheat noodles

yabuiri ga yabuiri no kago kaki ni keri

servants on holiday
carry an servant on holiday...

mizuumi no kago kara miete haru no chô

from a palanquin
at the lake, watching
spring butterflies

ôhara ni degawari kago no tôri keri

across the wide plain
a migrating servant
in a palanquin

Issa and his palanquin haiku
Tr. David Lanoue


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The pass of Hakone 箱根  was famous for the sedan chair bearers, who would bring women and the elderly over the pass.

Yosegi woodwork thrived as secondary jobs for many "Kagokaki (palanquin bearer)" and started being sold at "Chaya (tea shops)." Kagokaki was like a current taxi driver, who moved between places bearing "Kago (palanquin)" on his shoulder.

Travellers, for example, who moved between Edo (current capital Tokyo) and Kyoto (old capital) sometimes hired such Kagokakis and themselves rested in the Kago. As Hakone is a mountainous region, there are many Kagokakis around there. "Chaya" is a current tea shop, where travellers took a rest enjoying surrounding views. There at Chayas, Kagokakis started selling Yosegi-Zaiku as their secondary job.

Look at great photos of Yosegi Woodwork!
© www.yosegi.net

CLICK for more samples of Hakone woodwork !

Hakone Woodwork Boxes and Daruma san

. kumosuke 雲助 shifty carrier,
a thuggish palanquin bearer .

Hakone pass was famous for its "kumosuke"

Related words

***** . Hakone and Haiku .

CLICK for more photos of mikoshi !

***** Portable shrine (mikoshi 神輿、御輿)
and more about Japanese Festivals !

***** Ebisu palanquin, Ebisu kago 戎籠(えびすかご)
Palanquin of fortunes, hoikago宝恵駕, hoekago 宝恵駕籠*
Palanquin for Fukusuke, Fukusuke kago 福助駕(ふくすけかご)

Ebisu 夷 恵比寿 恵比須 えびす、エビス and haiku
a form of mikoshi palanquin for the deity during a festival.


. List of Edo craftsmen 江戸の職人 shokunin .

kagoshi, kago shi 篭師 palanquin maker
駕籠師  駕篭師 
making norimono 乗物 "things to ride in"

aiaikago あいあい駕篭 two riding in the same palanquin
anhotsu あんぽつ / 京坂あんだ
hoozenji kago はうせんじ駕籠 / 宝仙寺駕籠
kagokaki, kago kaki 駕籠舁き palanquin carrier
kyoo yotsukago 京四つ駕籠
machikago 町駕籠 "town palanquin" carried by two bearers
rokunin kaki 六人舁き carried by six bearers
shukukago 宿駕籠, postal station palanquin, in Hakone etc.
toomarukago 唐丸駕籠 - 鶤鶏駕籠 closed palanquin for criminals
tsujikago 辻駕篭 "crossroad palanquin"
yamakago 山駕篭 palanquin for the mountains
yotsude kago 四つ手駕籠 four-strut palanquin

四つ手駕籠 four-strut palanquin

落語 Rakugo and Kago - detailed information
- reference : rakugo-fan.at.webry.info -

- quote -
Palanquins, or kago, the Edo equivalent of taxicabs,
were carried on the shoulders of two to four bearers. The palanquins built to daimyo specifications, known as norimono, were plusher than the ones used by commoners. The economy-class kago was a crude affair of split bamboo pieces woven on a frame of four bamboo poles. The palanquins used in the city were referred to as tsujikago ("crossroads kago") or machikago ("town kago").
- source : web-japan.org/tokyo/know -

source : kotobank


. Join the Edo friends on facebook .


. kago 籠 / 篭 / かご basket, baskets of all kinds .

- #kagopalanquin #palanquinkago #sedanchair



Kato said...

Interesting story. I am running a website “Kotodama”, where you can get a customized Japanese design.

Gabi Greve said...

Carrying luggage in the Edo period


Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho at Yamashiro

Yamashiro e Ide no kago karu shigure kana

to Yamashiro
I had to use a sedan chair from Ide
because of the winter sleet . .

Narayanan Raghunathan said...

ascending Kedaarnaath
on pahadi shoulders
the old pilgrim lady
in a palanquin

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

mekagao 目籠 openwork woven bamboo basket
kagome 籠目 holes in a basket

kago 籠 basket !!

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Sugamo Okago Machi 巣鴨御駕籠町 Sugamo "Palanquin district"
文京区 Bunkyo ward 本駒込 六丁目 Hon-Komagome 6th sub-district,
豊島区 Toshima ward, 駒込 Komagome second sub-district

Since 1697, the palanquin makers of the Edo Bakufu government lived here, said to be about 51 craftsmen.
They made palanquins for the Shogun himself and for his family. Some of the craftsmen were sworn to secrecy to protect the safety of the Shogun. They were given special black Hanten coats to show their status.
The district was rather long and narrow, with many estates of Samurai in-between.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legend from Nagano

jiishi, baishi 爺石 Ji-Ishi Grandpa rock,婆石 Ba-Ishi Grandma rock
Once upon a time
an old rich couple from 松代 Matsudai went to see her daughter, who lived in Ueda, because she had given birth to a baby. They crossed the pass 地蔵峠 Jizo Toge in a kago 籠 sedan chair. But the palanquin bearers were a bad lot and after passing the pass 金剛寺峠 Kongoji Toge they robbed the couple of their money and threw them down into the gourge with the palanquin.
While he was rolling down the mountain side, Grandpa got stuck in the middle of the way down and turned into a rock. Grandma fell down to the forest and became a rock.
The palanquin fell down near the sanctuary of Yamanokami and became the rock 籠岩 / 篭岩 Kagoiwa.
More legends to explore !

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tokyo
. Legends from 中央区 Chuo Ward "Central Ward" . .
To prevent motion sickness, one has to peel one Umeboshi and stick it to the navel.
This helps especially when travelling in a palanquin in the Edo period.