Masukagami Isokichi 増鏡磯吉

Member of the Masukagami guild of Daikagura – a subgenre of lion dancing troupe, which moved on from religious rites to include music, juggling and acrobatic drumming

1817 Born

1850 flyer for Daikagura troupe including Masukagami Isokichi in Osaka

1867 March – left Japan as the leader of the Lenton & Smith section of the Great Dragon Troupe which toured Hong Kong, Philippines, Java, Singapore, Penang and Calcutta. Was only given a passport for a month.

1867 June – Ese Kitche no kawee – Japanese Sampson in the combined Great Dragon Troupe in San Francisco

1867 December – Eso Kitchie and the Great Dragon Troupe (Lenton & Smith section) arrive in Australia. Omoto said to be his daughter.

1868 January – “was for 20 years director of the Dragon Company in Yeddo. All communications with the others pass through him, and it is by him that the performances are arranged, and the duties of each performer apportioned.” The Argus, Melbourne, 17 January 1868 p 6

1868 February – “First appearance” of “Eso-Kitchie the equilibrist in new and extraordinary feats”, Ballarat

1868 April – “old Esokitchie, – who did some astonishing things with an umbrella and a number of balls, wheels, discs, and squares.” Sydney

1868 May – “Eso-Kitchie again made his appearance in his scene of Japanese equilibria, making rings, balls, and square pieces of wood run round the top of an open Japanese umbrella; he was loudly applauded throughout this performance as also in his dexterious tricks with balls and small cups, which he threw into the air and caught in several different ways in a wicker basket arrangement. This part of the entertainment was really clever and very amusing and deservedly called forth rounds of applause” Tasmanian Times

1868 July – “First Appearance of ESO-KITCHIE, The Japanese Cicerone, 20 years Director of the Great Dragon Company in Jeddo, in his great scene of COMIC JAPANESE EQUILIBRIA.” Melbourne Argus

1869 February -Lenton & Smith Great Dragon Troupe tour of Australasia ends.

“The late company is distributed in all parts of Japan, but our stately old friend, Eso Kitchie, has given Kirby much assistance : he does not do any show business now, and has retired into quiet life. Cuts-who-gero is about still, but will not perform again. Gingero, Metaro, Sagero, and the rest of Eso Kitchie’s troupe, are in Yeddo, performing at the Imperial Theatre there.” Letter of October 1869 addressed to John Smith in Australia. The Herald, Melbourne, 3 December 1869

1869 October – Isokichi, aged 52, from Yokohama, is one of the passport holders for Thomas King’s Royal Tycoon’s Private Troupe who tour Hong Kong and then India, then Germany and then Britain.

1869 December – “We hear that Eso-Kitchie, the venerable leader of Lenton and Smith’s Japanese troupe, during his stay amongst us, took copious notes, and these are to be published in Yeddo by the Government” (Mount Alexander Mail, 6th December 1869)

1870 July – Isokichi and Thomas King’s Royal Tycoon’s Private Troupe arrive in Britain.

1871 January – Eso Kitchee billed as “The Royal Tycoon’s Private Top Spinner” in Ashton

1871 February – Eso Kitchee billed as “the inimitable comic Japanese juggler and equilibrist” and Oh Ra To as the Royal Tycoon’s Private Top Spinner in Brighouse

1871 March – Eso Kitchee the inimitable Japanese juggler. No mention of Oh Ra To. Manchester, Sheffield

1872 May – Matsui Yoshigoro of the Royal Tycoon’s Private Top Spinner troupe (probably Oh Ra To) asks King and Isokichi in France for the return fares for himself and 3 others but no money forthcoming.

1872 July – Great Siamese Dragon Troupe in Brighton – “Eso Kitchee” “with his great juggling act”