Our Japanese reporter has his impression confirmed.

It’s been a long time since rickshaws were everyday transportation in Japan, but you can still find them in traditional sightseeing areas like Tokyo’s Asakusa and Kyoto’s Arashiyama neighborhoods, or the town of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture. Our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa has noticed that most rickshaw ride customers tend to fall into one of three categories:

1. A boyfriend and girlfriend on a date
2. An elderly husband and wife
3. A pair of young women

In addition, he’s noticed something else about that third group: If there are two women riding in a rickshaw together, they’re almost always cute, Seiji says.

Seiji did realize, though, that this impression might just be a case of selective memory on his part, though. So to double-check, he spoke with his friend K, who used to work as a rickshaw puller in Kamakura.

Seiji: So, K, I’ve got this impression that if girls are riding in a rickshaw, they’re usually cute.

K: Yeah, you’re not entirely wrong there.

Seiji: Oh, wow, so you think so too? So when rickshaw pullers are calling out to passersby and offering rides, do they make a point of talking to good-looking women?

K: No, no, it’s not like that at all. The more customers we get, the more we earn, so we pretty much call out to anyone we think might want to take a ride. So basically any passerby who looks like they’re in town for sightseeing is someone we’ll talk to.

Seiji: So is it just totally random luck that it’s usually cute girls you see riding in rickshaws?

K: Again, if people look like they’re in the neighborhood for sightseeing, and that’s often the case with a pair of women, we’ll call out to them. Women who are dressed fashionably tend to be more comfortable standing out from the crowd, and so they’re more receptive when we call out to them offering rickshaw rides. Shyer girls tend to just ignore us. Because of that, even though we call out to everyone, it tends to be women who like having attention who decide to take a ride, and they’re often more likely to have eye-catching fashions, hairstyles, and the like.

Seiji: Ah, I get it. So it’s not that rickshaw pullers are focusing on cute girls, but that cute girls are more likely to engage in a conversation and decide to take a ride.

K: Oh, and there’s one more reason too. Riding a rickshaw creates a regal aura, and makes the passengers look like princesses. So it’s easy to understand why people think the girls they see riding in a rickshaw look beautiful.

Though K didn’t mention it specifically, it’s also worth taking into account that rickshaw passengers have an elevated, exposed seating position, meaning you’re likely to get a lot of attention from other people on the street. Another factor to consider is that rickshaw rides are decidedly a special-occasion mode of transportation, sort of like a horse-drawn carriage or limousine, and so passengers will always snap a few photos of themselves during the ride. So maybe it’s not that the women in rickshaws are necessarily cuter than the ones who aren’t, but that people tend to make sure they’re looking their personal best on the day they decide to take a rickshaw ride.

Top image: Pakutaso
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[ Read in Japanese ]