The Complete Guide to Anachronisms in Samurai Champloo--
Gamblers and Gallantry/Degeneration Angel

Episode 11: Gamblers and Gallantry/Degeneration Angel:

Kabuto sumo.

Beetle wrestling is a growing craze in modern Japan, but everything I can find says it's a recent invention. Here's part of an article from the Shanghai Star dated June 27, 2000:

TOKYO - Two giant black beetles lunge at each other on top of a log as dozens of Japanese children and adults watch eagerly. The long, curved mandibles of the fighting stag beetles make clacking sounds on contact, as the crowd builds for another round of Beetle wrestling - an obscure but growing sport in a country where the beetle is scaling new heights of popularity. The crowd gasps as a beetle lifts up its 7 cm opponent with its jaws and flings it off the log. "I trained him by deliberately letting him fight against smaller beetles and got him into the habit of winning," said Shin Yuasa, the proud owner of Sumatra Hirata, the stag beetle which became champion in a beetle wrestling tournament recently in Tokyo. Beetle wrestling is just one of the delights of Japan's growing ranks of live beetle collectors, whose rising population has spawned numerous specialty shops in Tokyo that sell the insects in all shapes, sizes and colours. "I liked insects, even as a child," said Yuasa, gently stroking the broad back of his beetle. "The shape, the black colour, how it shines and the smart appearance of the beetle is what I like best." Yuasa is the father of two children and owner of 30 beetles. Price tags for a beetle range from a few hundred yen (a few dollars) to around 300,000 yen ($2,800), or even higher in some cases, and Internet sales are allowing collections to prosper in even far-flung regions of Japan. Bigger is better in the world of beetles, and large foreign species command the top prices. A mere millimetre in size could change the price by more than a hundred dollars. Last year, a stag beetle was reported to have been sold for as much as 10 million yen ($94,210).

Shino's mirror.

Japan did not have glass mirrors until the Meiji Era--the nineteenth century. Mirrors until then were made of highly polished steel or bronze, and were often convex (domed).

Shino's could be steel, but the reflection is so flat and clear that it looks like glass to me.

Fuu's decorated nail polish.

--credit Emily Savi's sharp eyes with this catch, seen for barely an instant while Fuu is at her job in the restaurant. This is a better look than we got back in episode one: see Anachron Guide for that episode for much more detail on nail adornment history.

Fuu's calculating device.

--Grateful to IRCFansubber on the Adult Swim board for this info and links:

"Meanwhile, Fuu is calculating their profits with a soroban. A soroban is a Japanese form of abacus. It evolved from the Chinese suan pan, which was introduced to Japan in the 1500's. The only problem is, it didn't become a soroban until the early 1900's. So, it's a well-hidden anachronism."

More about the soroban:
Soroban Abacus Handbook.
History of the Soroban.
The Soroban Abacus.

--Go back to Compete Guide to Anachronisms main page.