Japanese troupe performs to record crowds in Seattle on May 11, 1872.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 8/09/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1614
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On May 11, 1872, in Seattle, the Marshall & Co.'s Great Tycoon Troupe of Japanese performs to record crowds at the Pavilion.  The troupe of eight men and two women includes "balancers, jugglers, top spinners, equilibrists, acrobats ... ." Newspapers raved, calling the performances "incredible and wholly beyond description," and as "bordering on the marvelous."

Incredible and Wholly Beyond Description

For seven days the troupe performed in Victoria, British Columbia to crowded houses. The Victoria papers stated they were "incredible and wholly beyond description -- such as their Pagoda balancing, spinning tops on the edge of a sword, fire-eating, jumping thorough drawn swords, other sorts of jugglery and wonderful acrobatic feats which were bordering on the marvellous [sic]" (The Weekly Intelligencer, May 6, 1872).

"Persons of high intelligence" told the editor of the Puget Sound Dispatch "that their performances are the most wonderful and exciting that they ever witnessed" (Puget Sound Dispatch). When the troupe reached Seattle they "performed before the largest paying audience ever assembled" at the Pavilion.

Extraordinary Feats

The Weekly Intelligencer raved: "Their performances were of a unique artistic and almost marvelous character -- each one in his respective role astonishing and delighting the beholder with the ease, dexterity and perfection which he exhibited." It was "a splendid series of extraordinary feats fresh from the Orient" (The Weekly Intelligencer, May 13, 1872).

The troupe performed on May 13 and gave an encore performance on May 14 at the Pavilion before proceeding to Olympia.


The Weekly Intelligencer, (Seattle) May 6, 1872, p. 3; Ibid., May 13, 1872, p. 3; Ibid., May 20, 1872, p. 3; Puget Sound Dispatch, May 9, 1872 p. 3.

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