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Rickshaw

From Academic Kids

Rickshaws (or rickshas) are a mode of human-powered transport: a runner draws a two-wheeled cart which seats one or two persons. Rickshaws were mainly used in Asia, but nowadays they are outlawed in many places and have been replaced by cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws (and the term "rickshaw" is today commonly used for these vehicles as well). The last sizeable fleet of true rickshaws can be found in Kolkata (Calcutta), where the rickshaw driver union resisted prohibition.

An American missionary to Japan named Jonathan Scobie invented rickshaws around 1869 to transport his invalid wife through the streets of Yokohama. The word "rickshaw" comes from the Japanese jinrikisha (人力車) which literally means "human-powered vehicle".


Around 1880, Rickshaws appeared in India, first in Simla and then, 20 years later, in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Here they were initially used by Chinese traders to transport goods; in 1914 they applied for permission to use them to transport passengers. Soon after, rickshaws appeared in many big cities in Southeast Asia; pulling a rickshaw was often the first job for peasants migrating to these cities.

Rickshaws are a tourist attraction at Star Ferry pier at Edinburgh Place, on Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong.

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