Mystery Ticket Part II

I previously posted about a mystery ticket which I found in a hidden pocket of this obi. I am now happy to report that a full translation has been provided by the wonderful IG member, menonaka! I have photoshopped her translation onto the ticket below:

The date on the ticket is November 19, Year 3. The Japanese sometimes use an older system of counting the years known as nengō, in addition to the Gregorian calendar. Based on this system, that would make the date either Meiji 3 (1870), Taisho 3 (1914), Showa 3 (1928), or Heisei 3 (1992). The ticket also mentions the use of photography on the back, which might lead one to believe that it is from Heisei 3 (1992). However, menonaka is of the opinion that it is older, and most likely from Showa 3.

The reasons are:
1. The ticket uses the older number system known as daiji, most of which are now obsolete except for certain official documents and paper money.

2. The use of katakana instead of hiragana, with no hiragana present anywhere on the ticket. (Which was discussed in the previous post as being common before 1980)

3.The entire grammatical structure and kanji are older. I.e., the characters and kana are all written in their older forms instead of the more common modern variations.

4. The amount of money that the ticket cost. 2.50 yen equals 2 yen and 50 zeni. Zeni was no longer in use by Heisei 3, and a ticket for that amount in today’s currency is a crazily low amount. (To put it in perspective…3 cents USD in today’s currency) However, the yen used to be worth much more than it is today, so in Taisho 3, ¥2.50 would have been equal to around ¥2688 (abt $31.00 USD), while in Showa 3 it would have equaled about ¥1500 (abt $17.30 USD) in today’s market.

5. Roll-film used in personal photography was first invented in 1888 and sold in Japan in 1928, although personal cameras were available as early as 1925. Therefore, it would be possible in Showa 3 (1928) for a person to have a personal camera, especially if they were wealthy. Since this is a performance ticket, there is a possibility that a few wealthier people attended this event.

She explained that the real way to know for sure is to find out when Japan started using the ¥ sign instead of 圓 for yen, since the ticket uses ¥. I have yet to find an answer to that question…anyone up for the challenge?

I have a suspicion that this might actually be a ticket for a sumo match. The reason is that both the words “chaya” and “arena” are used. A Chaya is a teahouse, and more specifically is also where one would buy tickets to a sumo match. The use of the term “arena” would also seem to lend itself to this theory, as it conjures images of a stadium of sorts, rather than a performance hall or a theater. I am not sure, however, as the ticket also mentions that “there may be changes in cast or performance due to illness or accident”, which is something you’d probably see on a ticket nowadays for say, a play. Since I do not read Japanese, and especially not archaic Japanese, I am obviously missing some subtle variances in the original wording that might otherwise prove my theory right or wrong.

Since the ticket does not specifically mention what performance or event it is for, we may never know for sure. But it sure is fun to speculate!

All credit goes to menonaka regarding the translation and dating of the ticket. Thank you very much for all your help!


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