A rickshaw operator transports a man through a Chinese city street.
The word rickshaw is derived from a Japanese word that literally means "human-powered vehicle." Rickshaws as we know them first appeared in Japan in 1868, but they must have been used much earlier in Asia as well as in Europe. Their use spread in Asia particularly in the 19th century.
By the 1880s, the rickshaw became the main source of transportation in China, India as well as Japan. They went of of vogue for a while, but are making a comeback in highly urbanized areas around the world. In Beijing rickshaw pullers take you through the hu-tongs and other parts of the city. In Amsterdam today, for example, rickshaw cyclists accost tourists for rides. It is possible that their use will continue to grow for environmental reasons.