Imagining Prostitution in Modern Japan, 1850–1913 - PDF
خلاصه: 1 O ne Introduction On a mid-winter morning, some months after the death of the Meiji Em- peror on July 30, 1912, daily newspapers across Japan informed the na- tion that an “unprecedented manuscript,” written by a prostitute under the pseudonym Wada Yoshiko, was arriving at bookstores everywhere. It was called Yūjo monogatari (A Prostitute’s Tale) and was published by Bunmeidō Press.1 The news of Wada’s accomplishment was so wide- spread that for the rest of the week, it attracted an unusual procession of visitors to her pleasure quarters in Naitō-Shinjuku, a famous commuter town located on the outskirts of Tokyo. Journalists lined up to interview her, current patrons came to congratulate her, and new potential clients showed up to set eyes on her.2 In her sequel, Yūjo monogatari, zoku-hen (A Prostitute’s Tale, Part II), published less than a year after the first book, Wada describes this mo- ment as a set of mixed blessings (see figure 1.1). At first, she encountered unrelenting scorn and criticism from her immediate circle of managers, colleagues, and patrons. After the book was released, the madam of the brothel harshly condemned her for divulging private information about their clients. Her book revealed unsavory details about the conditions of the syphilis hospital where the prostitutes went for regular mandatory health exams and were confined if found diseased. Given her negative exposé, the director of the hospital came to the brothel to denounce Wada for staining his good reputation. Although Wada was careful not to reveal any names, she had disclosed job titles, and therefore, the madam rea- soned, anyone could identify the director or other brothel affiliates men- tioned in her book. In response, the madam demanded that Wada issue an immediate apology and retract some of the sections of her publication. Prostitutes in the brothel shunned Wada, too, for sharing details about their district clients and destroying their mutual trust.