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It seems like Heiji’s scheme was a success! So successful, in fact, that is spawned copycat businesses. Today we’ll take a look at what Heiji’s next-door neighbors are up to…
If Sabu¹ in Fukagawa becomes popular, it will open up a shop in Ryōgoku. If some theater’s production of Chūshingura² becomes famous, other productions will pop up here and there. The recent fad of restaurants selling ochazuke with the twelve signs of the zodiac has spread so much that it’s impossible to tell which was the original. If they start selling something similar to Hachijō silk in Jōshū, they’ll start making it in Hachiōji too. It’s a tricky world and you can’t escape from copycats. And so, when Tsuribune no Heiji’s greedy next-door neighbor heard that Heiji had made a fortune by charging people to lick his mermaid, he had an idea…
He covered his wife’s ugly, bird-like face in white makeup and then had her wear a koinobori³ from the waist down to make her look like a mermaid. Then he put up a sign selling mermaid licks for 200 mon⁴.
- This was the name of a popular restaurant at the time.
- Chūshingura is a popular samurai tale, also known as the forty-seven rōnin.
- Koinobori are large wind streamers shaped like carp which get hung up on Children’s Day in May. Families with young sons would fly them to celebrate their children’s lives.
- A lot cheaper than the price of the real mermaid licks!