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If there is anyone left who doesn’t yet think that Urashima Tarō is a jerk for cheating on Otohime with a prostitute, today’s post will fix that. In the illustration below, the signpost near Urashima Tarō reads, “Right: Genbē Channel, Left: Tennōzu.” It’s oddly specific about where this page’s events take place. Tennōzu is off the coast of Shinagawa, a place which was famous for sillago fishing. Today it’s a stylish and artsy downtown waterfront neighborhood.
I love that the fish nightwatchmen have lanterns. It’s just like how the people at undersea Nakazu’s sideshows were wondering if the clam mirage was a candlelight projection trick. There seems to be no acknowledgment that fire won’t work underwater, just like we’re asked to accept that people with fish on top of their heads = actual fish. Maybe I’m just weird, but that always makes me laugh.
Urashima Tarō knew that if Otohime’s father the Dragon King ever found out about the child there would be big trouble, so he secretly threw the baby away into the sea.
“Ah, if I didn’t belong to the Dragon Palace’s court, I would raise you myself and put you in a freak show in Fukiyachō or Ryōgoku. I’m sure I could make some money that way… It’s such a shame, but I have to throw you away. When you grow up, take care not to get caught by one of the bad freak shows!”
Some fish nightwatchmen who were patrolling the sea nearby heard the baby mermaid’s cries.
“Hey, I can hear a baby! Hurry up and bring the lantern over here!”