Japanese street vendors and their belief in Shennong

Street stalls are called “ludians” and “avenue shops” in Japanese. Therefore, local vendors are called “ludians”, “avenue merchants”, and “street merchants” in Japan. They refer to mobile vendors who have no fixed stores, including jugglers, etc. .

The shopkeepers are mobile vendors who carry their burdens and push cars through the streets, and there are also road operators who set up sheds and stalls on the streets. In the past, the kind of shopkeepers who sold single products such as the “Limitai” that held the goods in their hands and stood on the side of the road, and the “Zhenmei” that carried the load along the street, have basically disappeared, but they are pushing cars or on the road. Occasionally, people who set up tents to sell snacks in the open space, and the shopkeepers who use shrines and temple fairs to drive the venues are active to this day, representing the urban fireworks of modern Japan.

The records of ancient Japanese shopkeepers began to appear in ancient books such as “Shiren Gehe” in the 13th century. Most of them were “stand-selling” and “zhen-selling”, and there were also vendors selling goods on small tables. In the middle and late period of the Edo period (1603-1867), the operation of street stalls appeared in the form of uniform price sales called “Jububundian” and “Sanjubundian”. The novelist Shiting Sanma’s “Shiting Miscellaneous Notes” described: “Last year from the end of the year to the spring, merchants in Sanshibawendian are popular. There are many small items in the shop, and the price is 38wen for those who sell…Yu At crossroads, bridges, and other places, straw mats are used as shops, and the chants are pleasing to the ears, and the smiles are pleasant to attract customers. The venue of the sacred ceremony is on both sides of the road, row upon row, shouting:’Thirty-eight articles! Wen!” It can be seen that the operation of stalls that “lay straw mats as a shop” is not only common at the intersection of thoroughfares, but also an important decoration when temples and shrines hold “sacred ceremonies”.

Zhou Zuoren recalled the lively scene of a stall in the Hongo area of ​​Tokyo in the last years of Meiji in his prose “Fate Day”: “Fate Day is the birthday of the gods and Buddhas or the day of enlightenment. On this day, a ceremony was held in the temple, and many people came to worship. At the same time, various businessmen came to set up stalls and business, from eating utensils, flowers and plants, and even juggling, they all have it, which is quite similar to the temple fair in Beijing.” “Day” is the day when the “Sacred Ceremony Ceremony” is held, which is equivalent to the day of the temple fair in our country. Each region, each shrine and temple has its own different fate, and vendors who use Fenri to set up stalls are also called “fate merchants” and are fully professional vendors.

Among Yuanri merchants, there is a kind of mobile vendors commonly known as “fragrance maker” or “deya”. They are different from ordinary shop vendors and are a special group of professional Japanese vendors.

There are different opinions on the origin of the name “Scented Guru”. Some people think it is a “wild warrior” strategy, that is, an unemployed warrior. In the past, Japanese Bushido emphasized that “loyal ministers do not matter to two masters.” Many samurai who lost their jobs due to the demise of their lord were unwilling to change jobs. In order to find their own jobs, they used their own techniques and secret recipes to stop bleeding, treat injuries, remove blood stasis and relieve pain. The advantage of the company has started the business of selling medicine. Early medicine warriors also sold incense utensils and other things, so they were written as “fragrance master” (or “Yoshi”).

“The House” is said to have originated from stall games such as shooting, ringing, and guessing. “De” means “targeted” and “in the term” “de”, so the original meaning of “the house” is the stall game practitioners who use prizes as bait. Later, “the house” and “fragrance maker” were combined into one and became synonymous. They both refer to the mobile vendors who use the temple fairs of various shrines or temples to set up stalls and sell goods and the arena and performers in the market. The “Catalog of Fragrant Merchants” published in the mid-17th century already included the category of “puppets”. It can be seen that entertainers such as puppet shows, magic, and acrobatics are also included in the “fragrant merchants”. Kitagawa Shouzheng’s “Shouzhen Manuscript” (1853) said: “Shishi, a name for merchants. Selling drugs exclusively for this party, and there are also non-party people. There are various in this vendor, and merchants on the road are Many. Tooth extraction is also the same.” It means that although there are many trades in the business, selling medicine and tooth extraction seem to be the representative professions of perfumers.

Different from the ordinary dew shop merchants who are stray soldiers and wandering bravely, the house (fragrance maker) is an organized and faithful group. They regard Shennong as the ancestor and claim to be the descendants of Shennong.

The belief in Shennong was introduced to Japan along with Chinese medicine as early as the Heian period (794-1185). In the late 13th century, Shennong was regarded as the ancestor of “Materia Medica” by Japanese physicians, saying that Shennong pityed the people for the suffering of diseases, thought about everything, tasted many plants, died of poison, lived by medicine, and died a hundred lives. It is precisely because of Shennong’s personal test of poison and great compassion that the “medicine therapy” was created. Legends such as this promoted Shennong’s benevolent spirit of pitying the people and the great achievements of tasting herbs to discern medicine, and established Shennong’s position as the ancestor of Japanese medicine. During the Edo period, Shennong belief spread throughout the country. The “Shennong Talk”, a grassroots folk belief organization, has been established in various places, and the Pharmaceutical Industry Association, under the name of “Shennong Association”, uses Shennong’s majesty to regulate industry behavior and eliminate counterfeit medicines. In some places, the “Shennong Festival” is used as a regular annual festival in the pharmaceutical industry or as a folklore of community residents. The “Shennong Festival” held every November in Tokyo’s Yushima Shrine and Osaka Dosho Town are typical of them.

The Shennong belief of the street vendor was developed on the basis of the belief of the ancestor of medicine. “The Book of Changes” says: “Shen Nong pours wood for saccharum, rubbing wood for saccharum, saccharum’s benefit, to teach the world, to cover all benefits. Japan and China are the city, to the people of the world, gather the goods of the world, trade and return Everyone gets what they want, and they can take everything.” It means that Shennong not only teaches people to farm, but is also the pioneer of market trading. The praise of the statue of Shennong painted by the fifth general of the Edo shogunate Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (1646-1709) also said, “Firstly craft five grains, taste herbs, make medicine, and become a city in Japan”, emphasizing Shennong’s “being a day” The achievements of Nakanoichi. Therefore, in the middle and late Edo period, Japanese houses began to regard Shennong as the patron saint of the street vendor industry.

Regarding the house, the Japanese folks have always said that “70% of the merchants, 30% of the land ruffians”, which means that 70% of the mobile vendors called “the house” or “fragrance maker” are serious businessmen, 30 % Is a gangster who belongs to the underworld. Most of the houses are good at appreciating appearance and color. They are clever tongues, tricks and tricks. In addition, they have a perverse appearance and a large number of people. It is difficult for consumers to seek justice after being deceived.

Most of the gangs in the house use the name of Shennong. In the early days of the Showa era, the street vendors gangs in Tokyo and Yokohama jointly established the “Showa Shennong Industrial Association” and began to maintain the operation of street vendors in the form of modern civil society organizations. The first chairman of the board of directors Nagakura Momochi published an article titled “Advocacy of Shennong Road” in a magazine, saying that he should “feel the love and experience that has symbolized love since the ancient times, and the Emperor Shennong Yu Rong, who has ruled all mankind, is infinitely complicated. In the modern era, we will hold high the slogan of loving family and coexistence and co-prosperity. “Showa Shennong Industrial Combination Declaration” also declares that we must “get a solid social status with the strength of our unity, and actively contribute to the public. “It expresses the determination to regulate industry behaviors in the spirit of Shennong, strive for social status, and a good desire to love the family and contribute to society.

After the “World War II”, a civil society named “Shennong Commercial Cooperative” was established in various parts of Japan, registered with the local government department and recognized by the government. When temple fairs are held in shrines and temples, or public events are held in parks and squares, the local “Shennong Commercial Cooperative Association” negotiates with the organizer, submits applications for booths to the police, health and other relevant departments, and then organizes vendors to set up booths at that time Business. In fact, the “Shennong Commercial Cooperative Group” controls the business sites of local mobile vendors and is a non-governmental organization between black and white.

The housing community as mobile vendors is one of the three sources of members of Japanese gangs. Japanese gangs can be divided into three major systems according to the source of their members: one is composed of casino owners and their gamblers, called the “Botu”; the other is the “house system” composed of mobile vendors; The system in which soldiers and bad boys are the main members is called “Fool Company” by the Japanese. Later, the gangs of these three systems absorbed each other, and the Yamaguchi Group was the largest gang organization in Japan formed by absorbing certain gangs of the three systems.

Like the gangs of the Botu family, there are specific guild incisions, fictitious kinship organizations beyond blood ties, and strict gang rules. But there are also many differences between the two. For example, most of the houses in the house system use “XX Group” or “XX Family” as the name of their organization, with Shennong as the patron saint, and the deity of “Emperor Shennong” during the ceremony, and the “Amaterasu Great God” of the blogger system. “Hachiman God” and others are different; they take “Shennong Road” as their business ethics, which is different from the “Benevolent and Xia Dao” advertised by the Botu gang. At present, most of the gangs in the house family have lost their function as independent organizations and act as subordinate gangs of larger gangs.

With the development of Japan’s economy and the improvement of the social security system, fewer and fewer people live in unsettled places and make a living by rushing to market stalls. Housing groups are gradually being eliminated in the torrent of social development. Especially since the “Ordinance on the Exclusion of Violent Groups” was implemented in 2011, housing groups have often been targeted by the police because of their inextricable ties with the underworld. In 2013, the “Shennong Commercial Cooperative Group” of Hyogo Prefecture was notified by the prefectural public security committee for providing protection fees to the underworld for a long time, and finally had to announce its dissolution. In recent years, relevant departments in various places have strengthened the control of housing groups, and the living space of vendors with housing estates as the main body is shrinking. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, the street vendors representing the fireworks of Japanese cities will usher in the inevitable demise together with their Shennong beliefs.