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Today’s page answers yesterday’s question about whether cheap knock-off mermaid licks are as good as the real thing. Heiji is making a killing, while his copycat neighbors aren’t doing so well with their scheme.
In Kyōden’s illustration, you can see the container of white face powder spilled out all over the floor and plastered over the wife’s face, while the angry husband beats her with his pipe. The tobacco tray got knocked upside-down in their fight. And their kid is repeating everything he hears.
Heiji’s neighbor dressed his wife like a mermaid. However, the effect was like trying to pass off a pure white heron as a pitch black crow, or a dirty street tramp as a high-class Yoshiwara courtesan. Naturally, nobody was fooled, and not one person came to lick her. The husband became desperate and a quarrel broke out.
Wife: “Hang on! If you’re going to beat me, let me take off the koinobori first! Let go!”
Husband: “It’s because of your lack of sense that we aren’t getting any customers, you dirty whore! I’m so mad my chest is going to rip¹!”
Wife: “What? Your chest is going to rip? Like they’re saying in Yoshiwara?! Well I don’t give a fuck! The only thing that’s going to rip around here is this koinobori!”
Child: “I don’t give a fuck! Mommy finally turned into a fishy! I don’t give a fuck!”
- Saying your chest was going to rip was a popular slang phrase in Yoshiwara at the time. It was a way of saying you were so angry/sad/upset that you couldn’t hold it in anymore. It’s used as a pun here, since actually the koinobori is about to rip. It also exposes the fact that the husband has been hanging out in the pleasure district, and the wife isn’t happy to hear that.
With only five days left in October I’m really curious as to how this story will end. I hope the mermaid and Heiji get a happy ending!