1st Edition

The Nightless City of The Geisha

By D.E. De Becker Copyright 2002
    404 Pages
    by Routledge

    498 Pages
    by Routledge

    First Published in 2005. The Japanese geisha is the ultimate erotic icon – the courtesan par excellence - and this is her definitive book. The life of the geisha is the most secret and traditional in Japan, and today remains largely unchanged and unknown behind the tea house doors. This remarkable work was the first to reveal the hidden world of the geisha of the famous Yoshiwara quarter of Tokyo, the 'nightless city', and it has never been surpassed. Written over a hundred years ago, it is a meticulous description of every aspect of geisha life there, including the history of the geisha, life stories of famous geisha, the decoration of the tea houses, the different grades of courtesans, their costumes and hairstyles, the instruction of young girls brought to the tea houses, the art of selecting a geisha for the evening, proper conduct on the morning after, erotic practices and charms used by geisha to attract lovers. The vibrant life of the Yoshiwara quarter is evoked with finesse, portraying the procurers and madames, the festivals and geisha processions, even the menus of the tea houses, along with such matters as forms of contracts between brothels and courtesans. Profusely illustrated with photographs, prints and drawings, this is an essential volume for all who are fascinated by the sophisticated sensuality of the willow, the cherry blossom and the silken kimono.

    History of the Yoshiwara Yukwaku, Nihon-dzutsumi (The Dyke of Japan), Mi-kaeri Yanagi (Gazing back Willow-tree), Yoshiwara Jinja (Yoshiwara Shrine), The Aisome-zakura (Cherry-tree of First Meeting), The Koma-tsunagi-matsu (Colt tethering Pine-tree), The Ryojin no Ido (Traveller's Well), Government Edict-board and Regulations at the Omon (Great Gate), The Present Omon, Of the Reasons why going to the Yoshiwara was called Cho ye Yuku, Classes of Brothels, Hikite-jaya (Introducing Tea-houses), The Ju-hachi-ken-jaya (Eighteen Tea-houses), The Amigasa-jaya (Braided Hat Tea-houses), The Kujaku Nagaya, The Kembansho, Classes of Prostitutes, Kamuro (Young Female Pages), Shinzo, Yarite (Female Managers), The Kutsuwa, The Wakaimono (Male Servants), Hokan and Geisha, The Europeanization of the Yoshiwara and the Introduction of Loochooan Courtesans, Zegen (Procurers), The Dress of Courtesans, Coiffures of the Yujo, Rooms of the Yujo, Tsumi-yagu no koto, Sobana (All round tips), Shokwai (First Meeting) and Mi-tate (Selection of Women), I-tsuzuke no koto, O cha wo hiku to iu koto, Shiki-zome no soba-burumai no koto, Shashin-mitate-cho (Photograph Albums for Facilitating the Selection of Women), Signs and Cyphers Showing the fees of Courtesans, System of Book-keeping in the Yoshiwara, Brothel Advertisements, Ageya no sashi-gami (Summons to the Ageya), Yoshiwara Dialect, Magic Charms of the Yoshiwara, Yoshiwara Pot-pourri, Dai-ya no koto (Cook-houses of the Yoshiwara), Famous Things of the Yoshiwara, Peddlers, Hawkers, and Beggars, The Examination of Licensed Women at the Hospital for Venereal Complaints, Results of Medical Inspection, Mu-seu Yukyo (Going on a Spree without having any money to pay for if), Yoshiwara-gayoi no Jinrikisha (The Jinrikisha Traffic of the Yoshiwara), Sanya-uma da-chin-dzuke (The Cost of Hiring Horses to and from the Yoshiwara, Byo-chu oyobi In-shoku no koto (Of the Sickness of Prostitutes and of Their Meals), Hike no koto (Closing Hours in the Yoshiwara), Kocho no koto (The Next Morning), Hiru-jimai Yo-jimai no koto (The Day and Night Engagements of Courtesans), Raku-seki no koto (The Removal of Names from the Register of the Yoshiwara), Gwaishutsu oyobi tobo (Exit and Plight from the Yoshiwara), Yujo byo-shi oyobi jo-shi no koto (Of the Death and Double-Suicide of Courtesans), Shin-Yoshiwara no Bodaiji (The Cemetery of the Shin-Yoshiwara), Karitaku no koto (The Temporary Prostitute Quarter), Dochu no koto oyobi tsuki-dashi no koto (The Processions of Yujo and the First Appearance of Recruits in the Yoshiwara), Yo-mise Suga-gaki no koto (The Night Exhibition and the Sugagaki), Daijin-mai no koto (Dancing of Millionaires), Daikoku-mai no koto (Daikoku-mai Dancing), Introductory Songs of the Daikoku-mai, Dote-bushi no koto oyobi Hayari-uta (Dote-bushi (Songs) and Popular Songs), Annals of a Year, Naka-no-cho no Hana-ue (Flower-plant-ing in the Naka-no-cho), Toro no koto (Lanterns), Niwaka Dancing, Tori-no-machi, Yoshiwara Naua-rushigi (The Seven Mysteries of the Yoshiwara), Yoshiwara no Kyo-ka (Comic Poetry), Yoshiwara Kwai-rok-ki (Chronology of Fire Disasters in the Yoshiwara), Furisode Kwaji (The Great Fire of Meireki), Mei-gi ryaku-den (Brief Sketches of the Lives of Famous Courtesans), Kinokuni-ya Buuzaemon, The Laws Relating to the Control of Prostitution, Forms of Contracts between Brothels and Courtesans, The Medical Aspect, Result of Medical Inspection in the Shin-Yoshiwara, 1898, Result of Medical Inspection in the Shiu-Yoshiwara. January to April 1899, Statistics re Social Evil in Japan in 1898, Pros and Cons, Correspondence from the Japan Times, Notes on Jigoku or Illicit Prostitutes, Appendix


    J.E. DE BECKER was a lawyer and long-time resident of Japan.