The New International Encyclopædia/Jin-Riki-Sha

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JIN-RIKI-SHA, jĭn-rĭk'ē-shȧ (Sinico-Japanese, man-power vehicle). A light two-wheeled hooded carriage, much resembling a miniature hansom cab without the driver's seat at the back. It is drawn by a man, however, instead of a horse. Near the outer end of the shafts is a cross-piece used by the runner in pulling the carriage. With a cord attached to the cross-bar, one or two or more out-runners can assist when extra speed is needed or the burden is especially heavy, though ordinarily the jin-riki-sha is almost wholly a single or double passenger vehicle only. The hiki, or puller, is not usually troubled with very much clothing in summer time. He can go at a great pace for long distances, frequently from 30 to 40 miles a day, arriving at his destination apparently as fresh as when he started. An American Baptist missionary named Goble claimed the invention of the jin-riki-sha, in 1869; but Takayama Kosuka of Tokio was the first to obtain Government permission to run the new vehicles, early in the same year, and another Japanese improved the rude original by supplying springs and designing the hood or calash top, adding wheel-guards. Then followed a period of lavish decoration. The change from the kago, or palanquin, was easily made, the bearers becoming pullers. At present the decoration is very simple, generally confined to the family crest or to a single symbol. The jin-riki-sha has been introduced into several Asiatic countries, and in India is vulgarly called ‘rickshaw,’ and has even found a place in literature. Useful applications of this vehicle have been made in the army.