Anonymous asked:I really love your blog as I'm interested in japanese history and Hakuouki and it's nice from you to give us historical sources about the Shinsengumi. (The Internet isn't so informative or detailed) My question is about Geikos and Maikos. Did they live in Yoshiwara back then (Edo) and if yes were they allowed to leave the Hanamachi? You can see Kosuzu running aroud Kyoto in Reimeiroku that's why I ask. (I thought they weren't allowes to leave the red-light district just like tayu) Thank you :)
I spent a lot of time looking this up, and I still am not sure of the answer as regards Kyoto. Perhaps someone else has more information. I’d love to hear from you if you do.
It is very difficult to find an accurate informative source on the history of geisha (in Edo area) /geiko (in Kyoto/Osaka area). Good books on the subject are mostly about 20th century culture and history, not earlier periods. And while there are a few good English-language resources related to the pleasure quarters, especially Yoshiwara, they don’t answer all the questions I have.
The first part of your question. The only precise information on this I found in Joseph de Becker 1899 book: The nightless city, or, the “History of the Yoshiwara Yūkwaku”. de Becker was an early sociologist. I’m sure some of his work is outdated. But he’s still respected for his observational/research skills. This is what he has to say about the history of geisha in the Yoshiwara.
[…] it often happened that geisha not only sold their accomplishments but their charms as well : this led to the establishment of the kemban-sho by Daikoku-ya Shumin in the 8th year of Anyei (1779) and the placing of geisha under proper control. Prior to the establishment of this kemban-sho the geisha were at liberty to go out of the great gate with guests, but subsequently this was strictly forbidden except to two geisha each day. Only on New Year’s day and the 13th day day of the 7th month (Bon no ju-san-nichi) were they free to pass out of the Yoshiwara irrespective of number, but even on those days their hours of liberty expired at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We find it recorded that the rules were so stringently enforced that comparatively few geisha actually ventured outside the gateway even on the special days above mentioned. Page 120-121
It would appeaar that in Yoshiwara at least, geisha were restricted from leaving the pleasure quarter at will.
So what about the Shimabara? I couldn’t find much information about geiko in the Shimabara at all, other than mentions that they did in fact exist. Most histories talk primarily about the geiko districts of Gion and Pontocho, and the courtesans and ordinary prostitutes of Shimabara.
Like the Yoshiwara, Shimabara was a walled-off gated district, whereas Gion, Pontocho, and other geiko districts in the Kyoto area were ordinary unwalled parts of town.
The still unanswered question: what were the rules for going out through the Shimabara gates?
Whatever the answer, grabbing a woman and running for it is not ok.
Yes, I’m talking to you, Hijikata-san.