Guns and bedrest

Here's an interesting advertisement I found on the back of a Shōwa 9 (1934) Japanese household almanac:

Oh, beloved child
Be thou happy
Toys for your spirit
Kyūmeigwan for your body

Kyūmeigwan (救命丸) is the name of the medicine being advertised; its name literally translates as "save-life ball" and note the old-fashioned "gw" instead of "g", which OH MY GOD THAT KID'S MOTHER IS HOLDING A RIFLE.

Which is some confused imagery. I guess the idea is that she's prepared to defend her child with force, if need be, but even as early as 1934 the vast majority of doctors had stopped prescribing gunfire as a treatment for any childhood ailment I am aware of.

The child looks uneasy about the setup, too. "Jeepers, I feel a lot better all of a sudden! I'll just get dressed for school right now! Don't shoot, mom, okay?"

Popularity factor: 7


Presumably the gun is a toy, but you're right, it's a deeply weird image.


That is truly one of the weirdest ads I've ever seen. So normal, so domestic... except.... I was hoping the translation would explain things, but no, it's just part of the scene. Mom coming to succor sick child... with a gun.


I guess it's telling that I didn't find the presense of the rifle unusual.

Leonardo Boiko:

Nice writeup. I didn't notice the gun, and you got an audible laugh from me.


Ah, a toy! That would explain it to that extent at least. Man, I can be dense.


I think guns were still prescribed in those days for severe psychological deviancies, if not physical illnesses.


I meant to comment on this when the post was on the frontpage, but forgot to: 'gwan' 丸 (Chin. 'wan') is the common word for "pill" in Chinese. I was wondering why you translated it as "ball" (that would have been amusing in French, where "balle" also means "bullet").

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