Yesterday, I put up a blog post and video of Chindoya: Japanese Culture - Chindon'ya (チンドン屋) Japanese Marching Band! (https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/05/japanese-culture-chindonya.html)
That blog post got lots of hits (Thanks). Some people asked about chindon'ya. So, I did some research.
It seems chindon'ya started in Osaka in about 1845 with a candy seller named Amekatsu. He blew whisltes and rang bells to attract people to his shop. He had a great voice and decided to not sell his candy but sell his voice to theaters and other shops.
In Tokyo, chindoya didn't arrive until 1885, when a newspaper hired performers to advertise and they called it "Hiromeya." While, in Osaka, single performers did well, they found out that in Tokyo, they needed groups to perform in order to attract people's attention. So Tokyo's early chindon'ya groups were anywhere from three to ten people.
As technology advanced, other forms of advertising came along and competed with the chindon'ya. In 1910 newspapers became common place in Japan. About 1920 balloons and airplanes began carrying large banners through the air. Also in the 1920s, the first neon signs appeared in Tokyo. When sound movies first appeared in Japan in 1929, that had another massive effect on the performers. Economics caused the performer groups to cut the size of the groups to 4 to 5 people, and in the 30s they became known as chindon'ya.
After the end of World War II, the chindon'ya had a popularity resurgence and there were an estimated 2,500 chindon'ya performers in Japan between 1946 ~ 1960.
Today, there are about 30 ~ 35 professional chindon'ya performers left in Japan, mostly in Tokyo. They average about 60 years old.
Chindon'ya is a tough job too... They average about ¥15,000 a day (about $135 USD) for performing from 10:30 am until 5 pm.
Oh, the life of a performer! Catch a chindon'ya if you can...
They won't be here anymore in a decade or so.
Here's a very old video of Chindoya from 1955: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBTDDHCa-EQ
What the video is about:
The video is about a day in the life of the members of a chindon'ya company in Mizonokuchi in Kawasaki. There are 40 performers in this particular company as they arrive to prepare their hair, faces and costumes for the day.
They get a S.O.S. call from the local shopping street and they are on their way. (Hilarious scene of a chindon'ya riding a motorcycle to get to the performance!)
These were the days when there were many chindon'ya. Some of the chindon'ya do part time jobs entertaining as they are much cheaper than geisha.... And, they always get paid in cash!
Read more here: Japanese Culture - Chindon'ya (チンドン屋) Japanese Marching Band! https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/05/japanese-culture-chindonya.html