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Mistress-Keeping in Japan / 2
Madame Butterfly was neither the first nor the last of her kind in Japan, and yet her name has become a synonym for the faithful-unto-death Japanese mistress. However, during the Occupation of Japan following World War II, American GI's learned another use of the word from their Japanese girl friends, with the verb "to butterfly" expressing an entirely different meaning—to philander, to two-time, to be fickle and inconstant. It is with both these connotations in mind that this book is dedicated, with admiration and compassion.
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Mistress-Keeping in Japan!
The Pit-Falls & the Pleasures Then & Now
Boyé Lafayette De Mente
Phoenix Books / Publishers
ISBN: 0-914778-72-2 Calligraphy and art by Tadahito Nadamoto Copyright © 2009 by Boyé Lafayette De Mente. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Other Books by the Author
[a partial listing]
[Books on Japan]
Japanese Etiquette & Ethics in Business Japan’s Business Code Words The Japanese Have a Word for It! Exotic Japan—The Sensual & Visual Pleasures Discovering Cultural Japan Business Guide to Japan Japanese in Plain English Survival Japanese Instant Japanese Japan Made Easy—All You Need to Know to Enjoy Japan Dining Guide to Japan Shopping Guide to Japan Etiquette Guide to Japan—Know the Rules that Make the Difference Japan’s Cultural Code Words Japan Unzipped—The Japan behind the Cherry Blossom Façade, (e-book) KATA—The Key to Understanding & Dealing with the Japanese Speak Japanese Today—A Little Language Goes a Long Way! The Japanese Samurai Code—Classic Strategies for Success Japan Unmasked—The Character & Culture of the Japanese Elements of Japanese Design—Understanding & Using Japan’s Classic Wabi-Sabi-Shibui Concepts Sex and the Japanese—The Sensual Side of Japan Samurai Strategies—42 Secret Martial Arts from Musashi’s ―Book of Five Rings‖
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[Books on China]
The Chinese Mind—Understanding Traditional Chinese Beliefs and Their Influence on Contemporary Culture Chinese Etiquette & Ethics in Business China’s Cultural Code Words [Key Chinese Terms that Reveal the Culture and Mindset of the Chinese] Chinese in Plain English Survival Chinese Instant Chinese Etiquette Guide to China—Know the Rules that Make the Difference
[Books on Korea]
Korean Business Etiquette Korean in Plain English Korea’s Business & Cultural Code Words Etiquette Guide to Korea— Know the Rules that Make the Difference Instant Korean Survival Korean
[Books on Mexico]
Why Mexicans Think & Behave the Way They Do—The Cultural Factors that Created the Character & Personality of the Mexican People Mexican Cultural Code Words There’s a Word for It in Mexico Which Side of Your Brain Am I Talking To? – The Advantages of Using Both Sides of Your Brain How to Measure the Sexuality of Men & Women by Their Facial Features (ebook) Samurai Principles & Practices that will Help Preteens & Teens in School, Sports, Social Activities & Choosing Careers Romantic Hawaii—Sun, Sand, Surf & Sex Romantic Mexico—The Image & the Realities
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Women of the Orient The Sensual Side of the Orient—A Traveler’s Arm-Chair Guide, (e-book) Asian Face Reading—Unlock the Secrets Hidden in the Human Face Once a Fool—From Japan to Alaska by Amphibious Jeep *Various titles published in Chinese, Czech, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian & Spanish.
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Preface: Of Men and Mistresses A Short Glossary BRIEF HISTORY OF AN HONORABLE INSTITUTION The Custom in Pre-Modern Japan Traditional Types of Mistresses Mistresses vs. Prostitutes The Red Lights Go Out Pleasure: The Biggest Industry RENAISSANCE WITH MODERN CONVENIENCES Americans Revive Mistress-Keeping American Soldiers as Mistress-Keepers Mistress-Keeping Modernized Mistresses for the Foreign Colony IT TAKES ALL KINDS An Artist’s View of Mistress-Keeping The Association of Mistresses A Life of Ups and Downs Mistresses vs. Wives Some Techniques of Mistress-Keeping TWO VERY SPECIAL TYPES Some Prefer Geisha
Mistress-Keeping in Japan / 8 Call Girls or Instant Mistresses HOSTESSES AND HOSTESS-HUNTING The Hostess System Breaking in Novices A Hostess Reader The Teenage Hostess TRICKS OF THE TRADE Hostesses vs. Playboys A Kinsey Report on Hostesses ―Spiders‖ Who Prey on Young Hostesses How Hostesses Stimulate Customers NOTES ON SEDUCTION High and Low Strategies Advice from the Experts The Lay of the Land Postscript: Making an End of It
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Calligraphy: Woman + Eyebrows = Flirtatious PREFACE
Of Men and Mistresses
MAN IS PRIMARILY a hunter, with an instinct to seek sexual experience just as, in a savage state, he hunts for food. Much of the fundamental sex drive that compels men to seek or at least to dream about varied sexual contact is exhibitive in nature. That is, man has an instinctive urge to develop and demonstrate his sexual prowess. Contrary to the myth created and kept alive by women, men do not connect the sex act with love, especially with love for one woman. A married man who engages in sex with a woman other than his wife is not automatically demonstrating that he does not love his wife. In the first place, only the very rare person, man or woman, is truly capable of love as we see it in the movies and read about it in books. We are all much too egocentric, much too selfish to love sincerely. Most couples merely tolerate each other, and it is only social pressure, dependence, fear of being alone, and other such contributing factors that keep them
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together. Publicly, women choose to regard the sex act as an expression of love. Privately, however, I think they recognize it for what it is. They recognize the animal nature of man but feel that men should repress that nature whether they are married or not. The typical woman feels that if she makes herself formally available to a man he should accept this as sufficient and confine himself to her. In this respect she has society on her side. But, generally speaking, women are not against promiscuity in males because of any moral consideration. They are against it because it lessens their control over men and because it hurts their pride. As a result of the combined efforts of women in the United States to prevent their men folk from behaving naturally, most American men lose much of their capacity for sex long before they are supposed to. In fact, some medical authorities believe that American men die from three to ten years earlier than they should because they have been deprived of the opportunity to get rid of all the male hormones their bodies manufacture. These authorities hold that the unused hormones in men cause their arteries to harden prematurely. Be that as it may, men throughout history have demonstrated in one way or another their instinctively polygamous nature. The traditional and most common means of satisfying this inherent urge, once brute force was renounced in the interest of group harmony, was to sanctify the institution of plural wives and the practice of prostitution. As men became more civilized and women began emerging from their chattel status, polygamy lost some of its attraction for men for the simple reason that with more than one woman in the house it became difficult if not impossible to maintain peace and quiet. In an attempt to adjust to the situation men compromised by choosing one official wife and assigning the others to secondary or concubine status.
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But eventually most men in most countries were forced to give up this custom, if not because of pressure from their wives or the promulgation of laws forbidding polygamy, then because they could not afford to maintain more than one wife. Nevertheless, polygamy in various forms is still practiced in numerous parts of the world today. In some places it is sustained not only by custom but by religious convictions as well. In Japan its practice was early sanctified by the ethics of traditional Japanese society and by economic considerations. At the same time many of the men who could no longer maintain a plurality of wives found a ready solution in the maintenance of one or more mistresses. In fact, mistresskeeping is an ancient and honorable custom in many countries of the world today. In still other countries it may not be so honorable, but it is practiced nonetheless. While competition among the various mistress- keeping nations of note is severe insofar as scale and scope are concerned, there is none to compare with Japan when one gets down to bare essentials. The Japanese never do anything half way. Whatever they do, they do with a Zen-like dedication and energy almost beyond belief. The same drive and spirit they exhibit in their industry, art, and sports is applied with equal fervor to sex as a pleasure and a diversion (as distinguished from sex for the practical purposes of family life), particularly to the practice of being and keeping mistresses. The sooner the foreign visitor to Japan realizes this, the nearer will he be to an understanding of a basic aspect of the Japanese scene. Mistress-keeping in Japan is closely tied in with the venerable institution of the geisha and a recent phenomenon: the re- placement of the once fabulous red-light districts and their thousands of courtesans by a fantastic proliferation of bars and cabarets staffed by over one million young women known as hostesses. The changes that brought about the
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deterioration and downfall of the traditional gay quarters also altered the nature and the profession of the geisha. The order, the good manners, and other refinements that characterized the pleasure world of old Japan have virtually disappeared, and a kind of controlled hysteria now reigns. This situation was further complicated by literally millions of school girls, office girls, and housewives who poached in areas formerly reserved exclusively for women in the pleasure trades. One result of this was that the postwar pool of potential mistresses in Japan was practically inexhaustible.
A Short Glossary of Terms in Their Japanese Context
BAR: A place of business that sells alcoholic drinks and may feature hostesses but does not have live entertainment. Bars employing hostesses usually allow dancing. CABARET: A "club" that features hostesses and may or may not have live entertainment. In cabarets, hostesses are automatically assigned to all customers who come in and sit down at tables or in booths. There are several types of cabarets. FLOATING WORLD: Floating world is a loose translation of ukiyo [uu-kee-yoh], the word that was traditionally used to mean the world of the geisha, courtesans, and entertainers, along with the types of businesses using their services. The term was most often used in reference to the giant red-light districts of Japan's famous Edo period (1603-1868). HOSTESS: Any girl or woman employed in a bar, a cabaret, or a night club to entertain customers and encourage them to spend money liberally. JAPANESE STYLE: In Japan, rooms, restaurants, and houses are always described as either "Japanese style" or
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"Western style." Where a room is concerned, Japanese style means that the floor is made up of soft, finely woven reed mats (tatami [tah-tah-me]) approximately two inches thick, three feet wide, and six feet long. The doors are sliding doors and will be either shoji (very thin, almost transparent sheets of rice paper pasted on a light wooden frame) or fusuma [fuu-suu-mah] (very thick, heavy layers of paper, and sometimes grass cloth, combined with wood). Usually there is no fixed furniture in a Japanese-style room. A low portable table and sitting cushions are placed on the floor when the room is used during the day. At night, thick quilts laid on the floor convert it into a bedroom. A Japanese-style restaurant (ryotei / rio-tay-ee]) does not have a large public dining room with tables and chairs. Guests are served in private Japanese-style rooms that vary in size from a four-mat room to one that will accommodate a hundred or more people. The dividing walls in ryotei are usually removable fusuma panels, making it possible to connect two or more rooms when larger areas are needed. The most important advantage in patronizing Japanese style restaurants is that one may be alone with his or her companion. After dining, the customer may have the room converted into a cozy apartment in a matter of seconds. A Japanese-style house, as one might suspect, has Japanese-style rooms. In addition, the construction throughout is quite different from that of Western-style houses. The house is not built to be heated, to retain heat, or to keep out the cold but to encourage the natural circulation of air. Windows are not screened, and in the older places toilets are generally not the flush type. The basic design of the Japanese-style house is determined by the need to cope with the very high humidity that prevails during most of the year. From a Westerner's viewpoint traditional Japanese architecture often seems to gives beauty precedence over comfort. MEKAKE (meh-kah'keh): The oldest of several Japanese words currently used for "mistress," mekake is
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now considered a little risque if not vulgar. MIZU SHOBAI (me-zoo show-by): This literally means "water business." It refers to all the various entertainment trades, from running resort hotels to operating call-girl rings, and includes all enterprises engaged in selling prepared food and liquid refreshments to the public. NIGHT CLUB: Legally there are only a handful of night clubs in all of Japan, since under the terms of Japanese law any place employing hostesses is listed as a cabaret. Most so-called night clubs are therefore cabarets operating under a different system. First, customers have a choice in whether or not hostesses are assigned to them. Second, upscale night-club entertainment is live. Third, upscale night clubs usually offer full meals. They are also distinguished by the fact that they cater to foreigners as well as Japanese. NI-GO (nee-go): Literally, No. 2; figuratively, a mistress. See also nigo san. NI-GO SAN (nee-go-sahn): Literally, Mrs. (wife) No. 2; figuratively, a mistress. It is the polite form of ni-go. SAN-GO SAN (san-go-sahn): Literally, Mrs. (wife) No. 3; figuratively, a second mistress. There may also be a No. 4, No. 5, etc.
SOMEONE has observed that the Japanese language has over fifty different ways of saying "courtesan" or "mistress" and yet makes do with but a single word meaning both "lock" and "key." Perhaps this is an indication of the emphasis the Japanese place upon relations between the sexes, even to the point of slighting other practical matters. Similarly, in the ideographs used in writing Japanese there are a great many composed of the element meaning "woman" (as seen on the title page) plus one or more other elements to give the final meaning. Some of these added
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elements may be repetitions (for example, two woman elements combined mean "quarrelsome" and three mean "adultery" or "noisy"); or they may be quite different (one woman between two men gives new meaning to the term "dalliance"). Each of the following chapter-title decorations shows one such ideograph with its elements separated and a rough indication of how its meaning was derived.
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Calligraphy: Standing + Woman = Mistress A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INSTITUTION The Custom in Pre-Modern Japan IN OLD JAPAN men of means could have several wives. The wives were legal and theoretically had equal status. In reality, however, the first woman a man took as his wife assumed a superior position by virtue of her seniority. About one thousand years ago the promulgation of an inheritance law resulted in the first wife obtaining recognition as the only legal wife. The others were officially designated as concubines. By the beginning of Japan's last feudal regime, the Tokugawa shogunate of 16031868, the samurai—the privileged warrior class—called their secondary wives mekake [may-kah-kay], which is usually translated into English as "mistress" or "mistresses." But several decades of war and social upheaval had preceded the formation of the Tokugawa regime, and the position of the mekake, both socially and legally, had deteriorated considerably. Girls who caught the eye of the
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haughty samurai were brought into the household as servants under a special contract. These girls were not, in fact, wives. They were indentured playthings for the masters. As could be expected, the Tokugawa Shogun (military dictator) had the most elaborate mistress-keeping setup. His residence was in the innermost part of Edo Castle (now replaced by Tokyo's Imperial Palace), where he and his legal wife lived in separate apartments. Elsewhere within the castle were some two hundred rooms for court ladies. In addition, there were various other categories and grades of women who "lived in" and served the shogun. Only those women who had the official title of churo (middle-aged person) were eligible to share a bed with the shogun, however. This title, it should be noted, had no real connection with the age of any girl concerned. The bedroom of the shogun's wife was located in the deepest recesses of her extensive court and was accessible only through a long winding corridor. The floor of the bedroom was built especially close to the ground so that no enemy or lover could conceal himself under it. When the shogun decided to spend a night with his wife, his approach down the long hall was announced by the ringing of bells. Servants in the various rooms that he passed were prohibited from leaving the rooms while the bells were ringing. If they happened to be in the corridor, they had to prostrate themselves on the floor and cover their faces with their hands. When the shogun reached his wife's bedroom, a maid served him tea. When he and his wife retired to the sleeping mat, the lamps were left burning, and two elderly women were stationed in an adjoining room to listen to what went on between the dictator and his wife. If during the night the shogun got up to go to the toilet, a woman was assigned to accompany him to serve as well as protect him. When the ruler wanted a different bed partner, the proceedings were different. It was first of all necessary for the shogun to indicate which of the many women in the
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castle he wanted on that particular evening. All he had to do, of course, was to come right out and announce to his attendants: "I want that one!" But he was usually very polite, and when he saw a young lady who looked desirable he would casually ask her name. His attendants immediately took the hint and went into action, and that evening the girl was ready for him when he retired. With the large number of women in the castle, and a fairly rapid turnover rate, it could hardly be expected that the shogun would know all of them. As it happened, he couldn't even keep up with those who had been designated as churo [chuu-roh] and were therefore eligible for his favors. Quite regularly his appetite and taste led him astray, and he would put the sign on a woman who had not been honored with the required title. Rather than embarrass the shogun by pointing out his mistake when this happened, court officials would call a hurried assembly and promote the young lady on the spot. There were actually two categories of churo. One category was in effect the shogun's harem. The other group performed the functions of maids and personal attendants to both the shogun and his wife. When the ruler wanted a girl who was in the latter category, he was required by court etiquette to obtain the "permission" of the older female servants. Before a girl slept with the shogun, she was known as "a churo who is pure." After she had had the honor, she was known as "a churo who has been touched by hand." Generally speaking, the girls singled out by the shogun considered themselves lucky. Most of them were in the castle voluntarily in the hope that they would be so favored. Once picked, a girl had to present herself at the ruler's bedroom an hour before he was expected to retire. There she was bathed, and her body was closely examined by old women assigned to watch out for the health and safety of the shogun. Her hair was carefully combed to make sure there were no weapons hidden in it. Then, all precautions completed, she was assisted in applying her make-up.*
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*In old China, eunuchs were in charge of the emperor's harem. They helped the emperor's choice prepare herself for the evening. When her toilet was done, she was wrapped in a blanket. Then one of the eunuchs carried her on his back to the emperor's bedroom and there handed her over to another eunuch who took care of the royal bed.
____________________________________________ At 10 o'clock in the evening a bell in the corridor was rung to signal the approach of the shogun to his bed chamber. A churo of the servant class helped the ruler change into a sleeping garment, tea was served, and there were a few minutes of chitchat. Then everybody went to bed: the shogun and his mistress for the night in the center of the room and a female servant behind a folding screen in the same room. This servant had to remain dressed and stay awake all night. It was her duty to listen to any conversation between the shogun and the girl and to report whatever she heard the following morning. In addition, two other women were posted in an adjoining room to note down in a diary everything that took place in the ruler's bed chamber. This practice of watching and listening to the shogun go about his manly expressions was for the purpose of proving whether or not the ruler was responsible i£ his bed partner became pregnant and of preventing the lucky lady from making use of the occasion to present the ruler with a private petition or to engage in political machinations with him. All women waiting on the shogun, both concubines and servants, were retired at the age of thirty—unless the shogun decided otherwise. Before a woman could be mustered out of service, however, she had to recommend an acceptable young girl to take her place. Few stories of Japanese heroes would be complete without an accounting of their mistresses. In most such stories, mistresses play a
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more important role than wives. Japan's greatest military heroes, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and his successor, Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the 350year-long Tokugawa regime, are as famous for their amorous adventures as for their military exploits. It is copiously recorded that the lowborn Hideyoshi had a burning passion for women of high birth, while the aristocratic Ieyasu preferred commoners. Both men had a predilection for keeping mothers and daughters as mistresses at the same time. Because of the large and steady demand for mistresses during the Edo (or Tokugawa) period a class of people who served as mistress brokers evolved.* For a fee, these men guaranteed to satisfy any requirement. As in most businesses, some of the mistress brokers were unscrupulous. Known as shoben gumi [show-bane guu-me] (urine gangs), these men conspired with women to squeeze money out of one well-to-do man after another. Shortly after one of these brokers had provided a mistress for a man, the girl began to wet the bed and resort to other subterfuges to arouse the disgust of her new patron. Then the broker would step back into the picture and suggest to the man that he give the girl some money as a solarium and then kick her out. The broker would later get his share of the money.** ____________________________________________
*Mistress brokers are now obsolete in Japan, but marriage brokers still do a volume business. For the benefit of present-day mistress-keepers whose ni-go (Mrs. No. 2) would like to convert to a legal status, marriage brokers point out that the most dangerous months are October and November, suggesting that there is something about this season that affects the mating instinct of unmarried women. **When someone breaks a promise in Japan's present-day business world he may be said to have shoben o shimashita—that is, urinated.
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Traditional Types of Mistresses THERE WERE THREE popular types of mistresses during the Edo period, and mistress brokers abounded.* First was the machiuke mekake [mah-chee-uu-kay may-kah-kay] or "waiting mistress," who lived in her own home and "waited" for her patron to visit her. There was a formal contract between the two, and the amount of money the man paid the woman was determined by how often he wanted to visit her. This type of mistress seldom if ever restricted herself to one patron. Most had several patrons, each with his assigned day and time. The more patrons a girl had, the more careful she had to be to keep her appointments from getting mixed up or overlapping. This type of mistress was also known as a nibu mekake [nee-buu may-kah-kay] or "double- shift mistress." The deai mekake [day-aye may-kah-kay], as their appellation states, were those who "went out to meet" their patrons. There are many well-known stories about how ordinary women became deai mekake. One goes like this: A young wife borrowed money secretly from a moneylender. But the interest was so high that she couldn't pay the debt when it came due. The moneylender then suggested that she meet him once a month for a year at a Japanese-style restaurant and work out the debt by serving as his mistress. Norikomi mekake [no-ree-koh-may may-kah-kay] or "intruding mistresses" were those bold and brazen women who would visit men's homes, sometimes without being invited, and more or less force their nervous patrons into compensating them generously in order to get rid of them before the men's wives got wise and made a scene. From 1868 through 1926 there were many women in Japan who were known as "temporary mistresses." These women used to systematically visit the quarters of bachelor workers and students, do their washing and sweeping for them, and then stay over for a short time or for the night. Another type of temporary mistress popular during this period were the women employed in the country's hundreds
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of resort spas. When a guest arrived, one of these girls would more or less move into his room for the duration of his stay. During Edo as well as later periods, men who could no longer feed both themselves and their wives would "rent" their wives out to wealthy men to serve as mistresses or combination mistress-servants. Such women were also referred to as temporary mistresses. Other formal categories of mistresses in pre-modern Japan were the ichinen-giri mekake (one-year-obligation mistresses), the toshi-gime mekake (mistresses available by the year), the tsuki-gakoi mekake (mistresses kept by the month), the kakoi mekake (enclosed mistresses), and the soto mekake (outside mistresses). So many well-to-do men built special houses for their mistresses during the Edo period that a distinctive design and construction became the vogue, making it possible to discern the home of a mistress at sight. Another interesting facet of mistress-keeping during the Edo period had to do with gamblers. During this period as well as in earlier times, there were thousands of professional gamblers in Japan who continually roamed the country, seldom staying very long in one place. The profession was extremely dangerous, and the gambler's life expectancy was short. As a result, the men preferred mistresses to wives. So in every city there were large numbers of gamblers' mistresses who formed a distinctive group of their own. The Japanese term for mistress (mekake) literally means "eyes" and "attend" or "wait upon." It suggests a person whose duty it is to watch someone so as to know when he wants service. Today, however, the word is considered somewhat risque if not downright vulgar. Ordinary Japanese euphemisms for "mistress" much used until a few decades ago included iki ningyo [ee-kee neen-g’yoh] (living doll), ningyo [neen-g’yoh] (mermaid), bindoro [bean-doh-roh] (a piece of valuable glass), and agarimono [ah-gah-ree-moh-no] (someone who goes up).
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There were also a number of interesting slang terms for "mistress." One of the most common was o-name [oh nah-may] (one who licks or is licked). Another was go-hizo [go-he-zoh], which originally meant "something to be kept with care and in secret." A rather pathetic expression in common use for "mistress" was hikagemono [he-kee-ah-gay-mh-no] or "one who lives in the shadows." Mistresses were also sometimes referred to as kageme [kah-gay-may] or "women of the shade." Lower-class women who served as both maid and mistress were popularly called futase [fuu-tah-say] (double service). In the Tokyo area it was also common to call such girls o-sasuri [oh-sah-suu-ree]or o-nade [oh-nah-day]. Both terms mean "one who strokes or pats," since the girls' official duty was to massage the legs of their masters. Japanese girls who became the mistresses of foreigners following the opening of the country to the West in 1868 were called rashamen [rah-shah-mane] or "wool cloth." During the late 1800's ordinary geisha who became mistresses were often called neko [nay-koh] or "cats." If the geisha concerned was of low grade, she was known as a ge-neko [gay-nay-koh] or "low-quality cat." Osakans, with their penchant for barbed humor, liked to refer to their mistresses as sakisuri [sah-kee-suu-ree]— figuratively, "a thing on which one tapers off." Mistresses of Buddhist priests were called shimmyo [sheem-yoh] (needle women) because of their custom of passing themselves off as seamstresses. Mistresses Vs. Prostitutes IN ADDITION TO the widespread practice of mistress-keeping, especially from the early 1600's until 1928, formal and informal prostitution had long been a traditional part of everyday life in Japan. A European doctor who spent several months traveling about the islands in the 1600's
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described the country as one vast brothel. Not only were there extensive red-light districts, but virtually every inn and restaurant in the land doubled as a pleasure house. The fact that the bulk of the Japanese population lived at subsistence level until the 1950's was an important factor in the existence of organized prostitution on a national scale, as well as the practice of mistress-keeping. Another important factor was that as late as the 1930's the Japanese were taught to look upon love as an evil that would ruin their lives. Love was one of the worst things that could happen to them. The countless love plays and stories written during the long Tokugawa regime were almost invariably tragedies of the most dismal order. The happy Hollywood theme that love conquers all was exactly reversed. Love destroyed all. Marriages were arranged without reference to love. As a result of this attitude, husband-wife relations were conducted more or less like business affairs. For men, at least, sexual pleasure, marriage, and parenthood were separate spheres of life and did not seriously overlap. Coupled with the general absence of religious disapproval, uninhibited indulgence in sensual activities became characteristic of Japanese life.* _____________________________________________
*In old Japan it was common for men to retire shortly after reaching the age of forty. Says the Japanese essayist Santaro: "Men who felt themselves qualified to retire at forty left the problem of supporting the household to their eldest son and thereafter spent their time fishing, learning old chants, playing go, composing verse, traveling, playing in the mizu shobai [the entertainment world], or begetting bastard babies to cause amusing domestic situations."
_______________________________________________ It may seem strange that mistress-keeping should become so popular in a country where prostitution was organized on a mass scale and was an integral part of national
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life. Even under the best of circumstances mistress-keeping involves handicaps that do not ordinarily apply to patronizing prostitutes. It is only when we consider the two practices in the light of their relative social status that the situation in Japan makes sense. Mistress-keeping has traditionally been associated with the privileged elite. The higher and more important a man, the more "right" he had to keep mistresses. The fact that this "right" was political and economic in nature was not lost on the common people. But what they could not change they tended to imbue with a certain amount of divine sanctity. Thus it came about that mistress-keeping was more or less reserved for men of power and means, while the humble had to content themselves with prostitutes. During most of the long Tokugawa regime it was actually a serious breach of the law for a member of the privileged samurai class to visit a red-light district. The samurai, however, got around this law by going in disguise, so in reality the upper class enjoyed both prerogatives. This resulted in an increasing elaborateness of the red-light districts, which now offered not only different grades of prostitutes but also different degrees of plushness. Those that catered to the very rich became palaces of beauty and ostentation. A further historical note will help the outsider understand Japanese attitudes toward prostitutes. From earliest times Japan's farmers and poor laborers scratched out their living on a level little more than sufficient to sustain life. The birth of several female children in a poor family often endangered the existence of the whole group, since females were a great economic liability. To insure family survival, superfluous daughters were regularly sold into prostitution, the only occupation open to them. The obedient daughter who willingly accepted this fate to help her family was regarded with pity and respect, not horror and scorn. The government tended to take the view that such girls were discharging an important duty to their parents and to
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the public by playing the role of wife for a night to "deserving bachelors and widowers as well as travelers long absent from their homes." So it happened that full-time professional prostitutes came to be ranked above actresses, dancers, singers, inn maids, restaurant waitresses, and geisha—all of whom performed double duty. It should be noted, however, that the only people in Pre modern Japan who were officially lower than actresses and other female entertainers were the outcast eta, who were not counted among the human population. Be that as it may, the most attractive and skilled of the prostitutes of Pre modern Japan were treated with respect and honor. They had their own retinue of servants and could choose their customers, among whom were the most famous and illustrious men of the day. Such girls were the heroines of their time. Their lives were used as themes by leading novelists and playwrights. As a result of this adulation, the names and careers of many prostitutes of yore are an integral part of Japan's romantic folklore. The licensed gay quarters of old Japan were not the wild arenas of indiscriminate sex favored by the Pompeians, the English, and away-from-home Americans, for example. There were formalities and restrictions that were severely enforced. The rules varied with the locality and grade of the pleasure district, but many regulations were common to all. Some examples follow. One prostitute was not allowed to "steal" the customer of another. Customers were allowed to patronize more than one girl, but they had to do it according to the rules. The first time a man had a courtesan in the district it was called shokai [show-kigh] or "first meeting." The second time he had the same girl it was called ura [uu-rah] or "back." The third time it was known as najimi [nah-jee-me]or "familiar." It was considered shameful for a man to have a girl only once, and there was considerable pressure on him to have
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her at least one more time to avoid insulting her. But if he went back a third time and made the girl his najimi, he was stuck with her every time he visited the same district. If he tried to conceal the fact and it came out later, he was blacklisted or otherwise punished. One method of punishment was to place the offender under a huge upside down bathtub and keep him there until the courtesan he had insulted chose to pardon him. It was also forbidden for any woman not a licensed prostitute to engage in prostitution. This applied particularly to geisha, who were not only subject to blacklisting but could also be exiled to some remote part of the country. Since many of the most beautiful and talented women of the day were prostitutes, it was common for men of class to compete for their favors and sometimes marry them. But by the arrival of the present century the quality of the pleasure districts—both the girls and the houses—had begun to deteriorate. When the Anti prostitution Law went into effect in 1957, they were little more than shells of their former selves. The wealthy had withdrawn their patronage in favor of geisha houses, which were more private and less susceptible to censure by either Japanese or foreign critics. By the time the red lights were switched off permanently, most of the remaining trade had already transferred over to the hundreds of thousands of girl-staffed bars and cabarets that sprang up all over the country during the 1950's. Continued prosperity has raised the level of many of these bars and cabarets to the point where they compare with the plush pleasure houses of earlier decades, as far as outward appearances are concerned. And, like the elaborate fun houses of old, they attract men from all classes of society. In addition, they have become the largest single source of modern day mistresses, replacing the traditional mekake brokers almost completely. These have not been the only changes. Whereas mistress-keeping was once a privilege only the more affluent
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could afford, the practice is now within the means of the average middle-class man. This has come about for three reasons: ordinary working men are making more money; the girls who become mistresses are often employed themselves and need less or even no financial help from their "husbands"; and in modern Japan most things, including mistresses, can be bought on credit. In fact, in the 1960s kurejitto ni-go or "credit mistress" became a popular term in the country.
The Red Lights Go Out BY THE EARLY l900's Western influence on Japan had begun to tell, and the social ban on love lost much of its official support. Most marriages were still arranged, but genuine affection between husbands and wives was no longer seen as a threat to society. By 1930 mistress-keeping on a mass scale had declined dramatically, and the once fabulous red-light districts had become shoddy and a little embarrassing. The decade of war with China that began in 1931 had a further blighting effect, and from 1941 to 1945 the Pacific War brought the life of pleasure in Japan to a virtual standstill. With the end of the war and the arrival in the country of several hundred thousand occupation troops, the paper lanterns in the old red-light districts flickered on again, and the practice of mistress-keeping was quickly revived on a grand scale. Only this time the patrons and customers were well-heeled Americans. But the phoenix-like resurrection of the pleasure districts was to be short-lived. A little more than ten years later they were permanently closed down as remnants of Japan's "uncivilized past." When it became apparent in the mid-1950's that legalized prostitution was on its way out in Japan, operators of houses— many of which had been passed down through the same family for generations—raised a death lament that
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could be heard from one end of the country to the other. Deputations of house madams (most managers were women) and owners besieged the government with petitions and protests. But to no avail. The red lights faded out and were soon replaced by neon signs in colors more suitable to the current of the times.* _______________________________________________
*There were some 50,000 officially registered brothels in the country when the Anti Prostitution Law went into effect on April 1, 1957. But authorities say the actual number was considerably larger than this because many houses closed down before the final deadline and were therefore not counted (the law went into effect on April 1, 1956, but brothel operators had a one-year grace period to get out of the business). In addition, there were thousands of houses in unlicensed or so-called blue light districts. This concentration of pleasure houses becomes more significant when it is considered that the inhabited area of Japan is no larger in total square miles than a single county in one of the larger American states, the rest of the country being made up of rugged mountains. In fact, as we have noted before, the neon-lit world of the bars and cabarets had already superseded the world of the old-fashioned gay quarters before the Anti Prostitution Law extinguished the red lights for good. On the last legal night of the operation of Japan’s red- light districts myself and some friends went to the Yoshiwara [Yoh-she-wah-rah] in Tokyo’s Asakusa ward—the largest and most famous courtesan district in the country.
_______________________________________________ The next crisis to hit the mizu shobai—that vast world of the Japanese entertainment trades—came in the early 1960's when a curfew law was passed, making it illegal for bars and cabarets to stay open after 11 p.m. This law was very unpopular at first, but operators soon learned how to live with and around it. Afterward, things were relatively calm in the mizu
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shobai until the spring of 1964. At that time the Sanitation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hit the "floating world" panic button by announcing that all persons to be directly connected with the forthcoming Olympic Games (October 1964), as well as thousands upon thousands of hostesses and hotel maids in the city, would have to undergo compulsory VD examinations. The hue and cry raised was terrific. But in the end the check more or less petered out, and the storm subsided. Since then the mizu shobai and the government have gone their separate ways.
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Calligraphy: Woman + Few = Beautiful
Pleasure: The Biggest Industry
FROM THE MID-1950s until the late 1960s the biggest industry in Japan was not shipbuilding, producing cultured pearls, or manufacturing transistor radios or cameras. It was entertainment. There were more people involved in the entertainment trades and more money spent in the name of entertainment than in any other enterprise. Over five million girls and women and several hundred thousand men and boys were directly employed in the mizu shobai. Most of these people are engaged in the operation of bars, cabarets, inns, Japanese-style restaurants, coffee shops, and snack-bar type restaurants serving such things as raw fish, tempura (batter-fried sea food and vegetables), grilled chicken, and noodles. It was said in all seriousness that the other types of businesses in Japan would be unable to function if it were not for the mizu shobai and its tremendous staff of compliant women. In fact, Japanese mythology credits a dancing girl with saving the world from eternal darkness, not only proving how ancient are the antecedents of the
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mizu shobai but also clearly evidencing its exalted role in the lives of the Japanese. The most important members of the mizu shobai were the hundreds of thousands of girls, from about sixteen on up, who worked in the cabarets and bars and were known as hostesses. Although the mizu shobai has shrunk by comparison with other industries in today's Japan, it is still large and still of vital importance—with hostesses playing their traditional roles. Their purpose was to entertain customers and, in doing so, encourage them to spend money. Like the places of business employing them, these girls differ in appearance and quality. The mizu shobai attracts women who are so ugly, unskilled, and uneducated that they cannot make out in any other field, as well as some of the most beautiful and accomplished girls in the country. (Shortly after the Pacific War ended in 1945 it was not unusual to find the daughters of ex-admirals, ex-generals, and ranking politicians in the mizu shobai. Most people in these categories, however, soon regained their economic independence and left the entertainment trades to their less fortunate sisters.) The hostesses—to return to them for a moment—not only play a paramount role in the mizu shobai by furnishing entertainment to customers and separating them from their money but also constitute the single most important pool of potential mistresses. For this reason they occupy a prominent place in this book and will be given their full share of attention in later chapters. Americans Revive Mistress-Keeping MISTRESS-KEEPING WAS to prove more durable than Japan's the red-light districts. In fact, until well into the 1970s it was so widespread that some Japanese social critics feared for the future of monogamy. Much of the postwar
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popularity of mistress- keeping was the work of Americans. Within a matter of months after American Occupation forces arrived in Japan in the summer of 1945, thousands of the troops and officer were supporting girls as full-fledged mistresses. By 1949 it was estimated that over 80 percent of the Occupation force had at least a part-time mistress. Thus several hundred thousand Japanese girls were provided with a profitable occupation when they needed it most. Japanese politicians and businessmen were not far behind. As their economic situation improved, they picked up where they had left off before the war began. A number of factors combined to make mistress-keeping flourish again as it had done during Tokugawa (1603-1868), Meiji (18681912), and Taisho (1912-16) days. First, the war left several million young girls and widows of marriageable age who could not readily find partners. Second, insufficient employment opportunities and a very low pay scale for women during the early post- war years made them more susceptible to propositions from men who could afford to help them financially. In addition, as the occupation drew to a close, increasing numbers of American and other foreign businessmen, diplomatic personnel, scholars, and students began to arrive on the scene. It was altogether natural that many of these newcomers would join the ranks of the mistress-keepers, not only because it could be done with remarkable ease but also because, at the time, it involved no great financial burden. Like their GI predecessors of a few years before, they took to mistress-keeping with alacrity and thus further assisted the revival of a time-honored practice that had lapsed during the war. At the same time, in their own way, they were making a contribution to Japan's economic recovery. Girls who were set up as full- or part-time mistresses by
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foreigners were known in politer circles as Yosho [Yohshoh] or "Western mistresses." The more common term used by the girls themselves was the English word "Only." This came about because the mistress-keeping GI had to constantly reassure his girl friend that she was the "only" one. Although it was the Americans who took the initiative in the postwar resurrection of mistress- keeping, it was not long before other foreigners—to say nothing of Japanese mistress-keepers—were bidding fair to outshine them in the eyes of the mistresses themselves. There were several reasons for this, the most important one appearing to be the average American man's lack of savoir-faire in the buying of sex: his reluctance to treat it as a business proposition and, at the same time, his tendency to haggle over the costs. Another reason had to do with the expanding economy of Japan, which increased the ability of native mistresskeepers to compete with their American counterparts. Still another reason involved the competition of foreign mistress-keepers other than Americans, who were now in a position to equal if not to outstrip the Americans in conveying an impression of affluence—and who were generally more experienced and suave in the matter of buying sex and paying for it. In addition, the American GI's were gradually being out-numbered by the other categories of mistress- keepers, and their choice of girls was being narrowed down to less and less desirable types. The combination of these and other factors contrived fairly quickly to lower the American from his position of preeminence among mistress-keepers in Japan. Even so, the Americans were far from being eliminated from the competition, and they continue to make a significant contribution to the progress of the mistress-keeping business. In any case, no one can deny the importance of their role in reviving a major Japanese tradition at the end of
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the Pacific War.
American Soldiers as Mistress-Keepers
WHEN THE PACIFIC WAR ended in 1945, several hundred thousand young and not so young American men suddenly found themselves thrust into the midst of a society that was quite different from the one they knew at home. The tone for the occupation of Japan was set before the first of these troops set foot on Japanese soil at Atsugi Naval Air Station an hour or so southwest of Tokyo. Most Japanese, particularly those who had been wholeheartedly in favor of the war, believed that the soonto-arrive American soldiers would naturally behave like practically all other occupation forces throughout the course of history. In a word, they expected the American GI's to go on a wild rampage of raping, looting, and killing. All those who could manage to do so sent their wives and daughters into outlying districts. Men who could not do this sealed off the windows of their houses, locked the doors, and kept their women in hiding as the American forces moved in. As a further measure to soften the suffering that seemed almost certain to be inflicted on the people, an enterprising man talked the Japanese army high command into letting him round up a truckload of girls of easy virtue and meet the incoming GI's before they reached Tokyo. Well, the man and his girls met the advance guard of the American occupation army. But, much to the surprise of the Japanese, the officer in charge of the convoy refused to accept the offer and ordered the truck back to Tokyo. This was probably the last time American troops in Japan turned down an opportunity to fraternize with the local girls. For several weeks after the occupation began, the GI's saw very few females other than old crones and young children. But in time the inherent kindness of the average
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soldier had infected every child with whom he came into contact. This infection spread quickly to the older Japanese, both male and female. Before long those who had been sent into hiding began to show themselves. In less than a year there was more intercourse on a strictly voluntary, friendly basis between the American servicemen in Japan and the millions of Japanese than had ever occurred before anywhere at any time in history between different racial groups—much less former enemies. The revived red-light districts, the geisha houses, and the bars that sprang up by the thousands were off limits to the GI's, but this didn't stop them from patronizing the places. It merely added spice to the adventure. The off-limits ban did have one important effect, however. It resulted in some 80 percent of all the American men in Japan latching on to girl friends who soon became their mistresses. Somewhere around half of these servicemen (both enlisted men and officers) set their mistresses up in apartments. Thousands bought houses for them (as late as 1949 a five-room house could still be bought in parts of Tokyo for as little as $500). If it could be written, the story of all these relationships —some sordid and tragic and others fine and happy—would include all that could ever be said about the folly and the nobility of mankind. It was a wonderful, bizarre, sinful era to all those who took part in it. The most important thing to most American men there was not the rebuilding of Japan but what was in it for them—partly in compensation for their enforced exile from "the good old U.S.A." The traditional American genius for making out shone as never before, and it was directed primarily toward a threefold goal: satisfying long-repressed sexual desires, making extra money, and avoiding punishment. Extra money was there for the taking if one wanted to dabble in the black market, and most did. Others used more
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imaginative means of augmenting their income. Some GI's assigned to an ambulance motor pool in downtown Tokyo used to put a girl in the back of the vehicle in between hospital calls and cruise around town picking up other GI's who paid $5 for half an hour with the "patient." Many GI's assigned to PX duty built small fortunes in a year or so by selling extra rations to mistress- keeping fellow soldiers as well as diverting goods directly into the black market by the truckload. One of the cleverest schemes devised by PX GI's and their mistresses involved a team of men who lived and worked on a PX train that served outlying districts. These men installed their mistresses in a supposedly empty coach on the train. At each stop the girls would sneak off the train and sell PX goods to local black- market dealers. But extra money wasn't really so important for the realization of the first goal: sex. A small sum would go a long way. In the early days $5 worth of PX goods would keep a mistress happy for several weeks. Servicemen by the thousands sought to extend their stay in Japan as the Occupation wore on. They didn't want to leave their women. By 1950, the fifth year of the occupation, several thousand of them had married their mistresses, and many others considered themselves married although no legal steps had been taken. Most took this step because they already had children or their mistresses had finally become pregnant. The first Japanese war bride left Japan with her American husband as early as July 1947. When the GI's who had not married their mistresses finished their tour of duty and began returning to the United States, the girls they left behind were almost always sincerely heartbroken. But this did not prevent most of them from immediately lining up new patrons. The girls usually knew in advance when their men were going to be shipped home (often before the men themselves knew it), and they would usually have replacements ready to move in with
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them the evening of the day their patrons left. Some of the servicemen arranged for their own replacements. Their girls always expressed shock at such "callous" behavior, but about the only time they ever refused to accept such arrangements was when they had already made their own selection or felt they could somehow entice their men to come back and marry them. Many servicemen cruelly promised their girls they would return, although they had no intention of doing so. After about 1948, servicemen arriving in Japan on their first tour of duty were generally fixed up with a mistress within two or three months. Usually a newly made friend's mistress lined them up with one of her girl friends. By 1950 a large number of mistresses were serving their second or third, and sometimes fourth or fifth, patron. These girls became well known around the military clubs and restaurants. It became a kind of game for some of the old-timers to keep track of them, paying them a certain kind of respect and being genuinely glad when one of them arranged to marry some newly arrived enlisted man or officer. There were always a few, however, who were notorious for their promiscuity and low character and were in fact degenerate prostitutes. When one of these girls latched on to a freshly arrived sucker, the old-timers would try to warn him off. But if the man concerned had already slept with the girl, even just one time, he would invariably ignore the warnings and eventually become angry with the advisors. If it happened that he had not yet had the girl, the stories about her sexual escapades would often make him want her all the more, and he would stay with her without intending to get emotionally involved. But most such men had had little or no experience with women, and as their sexual desires soared, their heads softened. Within a few weeks they would be deeply attach-
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ed to the girls and completely deaf to any criticism of them. A number of them made formal application to marry such girls a few months after arriving in Japan. For this and other reasons the American military establishment made it difficult and frustrating for a serviceman to marry a Japanese girl. It sometimes took months. On many occasions when the military attempted to block a marriage, the serviceman would seek help from his congressman. Some outfits shipped a man out of Japan as soon as he applied for permission to marry his Japanese girl friend. It is a testimony to the feelings and tenacity of some of these men that they would work for years trying to get back to Japan, as servicemen or civilians, to marry their mistresses. Only a small percentage of them ever made it. Many of those who did found they had wasted their time. Their girls, with good reason, had never really believed they would come back and had taken up with other men. For the first several years of the occupation most of the Japanese girls who became mistresses of Americans met their future patrons in one of a few specific places: the military mess hall where the girls worked as waitresses; on-post concessions where the girls were employed as clerks, etc.; off-post laundries and dry-cleaning shops that catered to GI trade; and the large complex of bars and whorehouses that grew up around every military post in the country. As time passed, the various military installations began hiring Japanese girls for general office work. These girls were better educated, had considerably more class, and were snapped up by servicemen as fast as they appeared. Despite such handicaps as an almost complete language barrier, extreme differences in manners and living habits, and strong parental prejudices against their daughters' being near—much less associating with—foreign men, many soldiers of the occupation still managed to meet, get ac-
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quainted with, and in no time set up housekeeping with very attractive girls from middle-and upper-class families. As a rule, however, the average mistress-sweetheart of the lower-ranking GI was far from being a beauty queen. Of course the typical enlisted man was no prize either. To most of the GI's the manners and appearance of their mistresses didn't seem to make much difference. They took whatever was the most available wherever they happened to be stationed. For many years the faces and figures of the average mistresses led into the marriage section of the American Embassy in Tokyo would have congealed the sand in an hourglass. In contrast, American troops stationed in Germany after World War II were accused of carrying off the country's most beautiful women. The troops in Japan could never be accused of that. About the only ones who seemed to exercise any judgment at all in their selection of mistresses were higher-ranking officers, civil-service personnel in Tokyo and other major cities, and the civilian businessmen who began to appear in Japan a few years before the Occupation ended in 1952. These men were often lucky or wise enough to end up with the long-legged beauties or petite doll-like creatures for which Japan is now famous. After the Occupation officially ended, the number of American military personnel in Japan decreased rapidly. Those that remained found themselves being gradually moved out of the centers of cities into the countryside. Thousands of GI's who had married in Japan took their discharge there and stayed on as civil-service employees or commercial entrants. The longer these men remained in Japan, the more reluctant they became to hazard a return to the United States. Many who did return home went back to Japan at the first opportunity. The U.S. forces in Japan gradually solidified into two general groups: a hard core of "old hands" who had been there since the early days of the occupation, many of whom had married locally, and a few
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thousand young rotating servicemen, most of whom were single. A significant percentage of the men in the first category, particularly those whose wives were Japanese, soon became mistress-keepers. Most of their mistresses were ex-employees who used to work for them or in some nearby office. This group was still well represented in Japan until the 1970s. The young single servicemen in Japan today, just like their predecessors, are still more or less restricted to the types of girls who have always catered to them: whores, bar girls, and those working in on-post and off-post shops serving Americans. But times have changed. By the 1970s, the few GI's in Japan were no longer wealthy in comparison with the Japanese. PX goods were no longer sought after by the local black market. The lower ranking servicemen had been eclipsed as mistress-keepers. But mistress-keeping by lower-ranking American servicemen was still prevalent enough to receive the regular attention of professional mizu-shobai chroniclers, who invariably linked the continuing presence of "only's" to the country's defeat in the Pacific War. Miss T, then twenty-seven and the mistress of a sergeant stationed at Tachikawa Air Base near Tokyo, was considered typical of that vintage. When she was twenty, Miss T went to work as a hostess in a bar catering exclusively to American military personnel. Within a short time she became the mistress of one of the bar's patrons. This man set her up in a one-room apartment, furnished the place, and gave her an allowance of $55 a month. In addition he supplied her with food and other items from the PX. Like many of the girls associating with American servicemen, Miss T was a member of Soka Gakkai, a militant religious sect then gaining favor in Japan. Miss T lived with her first patron until he returned to the United States four years later. As soon as he was gone, she took up with a
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second serviceman. In a short while he was transferred to Okinawa. Before leaving, however, he "sold" Miss T and all the furniture bought by her first patron to her present patron, another sergeant. According to Miss T, American servicemen in Japan who kept mistresses had an informal agreement among themselves that no one would give a mistress more than $55 a month. Speaking for all mistresses of servicemen, Miss T said: "They bought our food and other necessary items, but $55 was still not enough. Most of us would have liked to work part time to earn extra money, but the servicemen were very jealous and didn't like for us to work. As a result we often lied and tell them we were pregnant and needed money for an abortion. We also got them to take us on trips, and since they could not speak or read Japanese we were able to pad the expenses and pocket the difference." Miss T's last patron had to travel frequently and was away from his base several days each month. While he was gone, she worked in a bar as a hostess-prostitute. She had it arranged for the apartment caretaker to telephone her if her patron came home unexpectedly. She thereupon rushed to the apartment and said she has been shopping, seeing a movie, or visiting. To prevent her clandestine activities from getting back to her patron, Miss T refused to accommodate servicemen from Tachikawa Air Base. She got from $6 to $8 for her favors from servicemen stationed near Tachikawa. If a customer was on leave from Vietnam, however, she got $15 or more. Miss T and her girl friends hoped the fighting in Vietnam would bring in more American GI's. An "only" in nearby Fuchu introduced a new note into mistress-keeping by low-paid American servicemen. A switch in patrons gave her the opportunity to insist that the new man increase her allowance to about $85 a month. The man couldn't afford this amount of money, so with the girl's approval he invited one of his Air Force friends in to share
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her and split the cost. Recounting an incident in which a girl was severely beaten by her American patron, who found her in bed with a Japanese patron (whom she tried unsuccessfully to pass off as her brother), a veteran "only" said that no "only" was ever faithful to her American patron. She was critical of the girls who got caught in their duplicity, remarking that they should be cleverer in their love-making with others. According to retired mistresses, by the 1970s American servicemen no longer married their mistresses as readily as they did in the past. This no doubt accounted in part for the rather cynical attitude the girls had toward their relationships with the men. Some of them, however, persuaded their American lovers to go through a Shinto marriage ceremony in an effort to ease their consciences and put a "formal" stamp of approval on their position. Mistress-Keeping Modernized BY THE mid-1960's mistress-keeping in Japan had evolved into forms that would have been unthinkable in the old days. Two simultaneous revolutions were well under way, permanently changing not only mistress-keeping practices but also the behavior and attitudes of Japanese society as a whole. The first revolution was economic. High wages and less expensive consumer goods raised the standard of living of the Japanese to a height hitherto unheard of in the Orient. In the short space of a decade hundreds of thousands of women worked themselves into economic independence for the first time in the history of the country. At the same time, carrying out another revolution, the newly emancipated girls began flocking to high schools and universities. They threw themselves into the mainstream of Japanese life with all the pent-up energy of a sex that had been repressed for countless generations.
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Having both economic and intellectual freedom for the first time, many young Japanese women began a wild spree of experimenting with all the emotions that used to be denied expression. They took lovers and entered into mistress-type relationships freely, often without any expectation of material gain. The type of "outside" mistress who refused to take payment from her patron became so common that she was soon labeled zero go-san (Mrs. No. Zero) in contrast to kept mistresses, who by this time were popularly known as nigo-san (Mrs. No. 2), san-go-sahn (Mrs. No. 3), etc. Kiyoshi Kanzaki, a well-known writer and critic, had the following to say about mistress-keeping in Japan of the 1960s: "The world of mistresses underwent a remarkable change after the war. About three million young men were killed in the fighting, and this caused the present 'unbalance of sex.' At first many young women were simply hungry for sex and willingly became mistresses for that reason only. With the coming of prosperity and liberal expense accounts, the shayozoku [shah-yoh-zoe-kuu] (expenseaccount 'aristocrats') began to keep mistresses on public money. At the same time women not connected with the traditional entertainment trades became eager to exchange sex for additional income. They do not consider it shameful to become a mistress. Company executives and high ranking members of the government take advantage of this situation to have sex relations with countless women. Both men and women are to blame. Japan is one of the uncivilized nations where polygamy is still practiced." Japan's younger set rationalized their intimate relationships by referring to their partners as koibito [coy-bee-toh] (sweethearts). By that time, the word mekake was slightly disrespectful, as we have noted. Also by this time young married women in Japan generally disapproved of their husbands' keeping mistresses, regardless of their financial position or the type of mistress concerned.
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Replying to an extensive survey conducted by the Ministry of Labor, the average housewife said she would get back at her husband, if she discovered he had a mistress, by herself going out and getting a lover. Tit for tat, you might say. But despite this attitude, or perhaps because of it, the majority of women approached said they believed the number of mistresses in Japan would increase in the future. Their reasoning was that there were over five million more women than men of marriageable age in Japan and that most of these women would have no choice but to form mistress liaisons with married men. Single women pointed out that if they had to become mistresses they preferred relationships with family men because such men treated women better than bachelors and could not lead them on so easily by promising marriage. Although Japanese social authorities estimated that as many as nine out of ten successful businessmen have mistresses, the moral climate of the country had changed enough that most such men preferred to keep their outside affairs secret from their wives. Mistress-keeping was no longer put into the same category as the practice of a fine art which added depth and meaning to a man's life. Yet there were many who still believed it was necessary if a man wanted to keep his health and energy into old age. And, despite the opposition, keeping a mistress in Japan was still one of the most important symbols of success. This penchant for mistress-keeping upset a promotional plan dreamed up by a domestic airline. The airline offered special reduced fares for Tokyo wives to visit husbands who had been transferred by their companies to distant cities. The airline was immediately deluged with protests from husbands who were in no position to welcome their wives. Interestingly enough, by that time young unmarried men in Japan were apt to be critical of their mistress-keeping
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elders. But as they grew older and their income rose, they began to look at mistress-keeping in a new light. The belief that a man was not truly successful or complete until he had at least one mistress was widespread and very deep, and the young men eventually fell into the traditional pattern of behavior. As mentioned before, the average mistress-keeper now prefers to be discreet about his affairs as far as his primary family is concerned, but there are some—such as writers, painters, and entertainers—who make no effort to hide their intimate relation- ships with several women. There are even some who openly brag about their mistresses. In the 1970s a weekly vernacular magazine carried a story about two Tokyo businessmen in their middle thirties who had no family residence of their own. They maintained several mistresses around the city and divided their nights among them. These men were quoted as saying a man is a fool to tie himself down to one woman for life. Another weekly-magazine story during the same decade, based on interviews with 120 company executives and several geisha, revealed some interesting attitudes toward mekake. Twenty-nine of the men admitted they were on the lookout for a young office girl or student to set up as a new mistress. Twenty-eight men said they preferred a bar or cabaret hostess. Eighteen said widows made the best mistresses. Eleven voted for married women. Eleven more said geisha would suit them best. Six preferred call girls. Geisha questioned about the identity and position of their patrons surprised the interviewers by speaking scornfully of top executives of the country's major firms. It appears that the presidents and managers of most first-class companies are salaried and, as a result, often do not have enough money to keep a geisha in the style she demands. It also seems that, in order to obtain exclusive rights to a geisha of any standing, a man has to be able to spend a minimum of eight or nine hundred dollars a month on her.
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"About the only men who can afford to take care of a geisha in proper style now are the president-owners of small or medium-sized companies," the girls said. The executives of first-line companies who did manage to maintain mistresses despite their modest salaries had to resort to various subterfuges. The most common of the techniques was for restaurants and bars that the companies patronize to pay the executives' mistresses in a kickback arrangement. The vice-president of one company regularly donated a sum to a famous temple in Kyoto with the understanding that part of the donation went to his mistress. A certain bank maintained a girl on a regular salary to serve as the mistress of the bank manager. The madam of a well-known bar in Tokyo's elite Ginza district put her finger on the primary reason why executives of top firms were proportionately less active than their predecessors. She pointed out that their business demanded much more of their time and energy than it did in the past. "Before, virtually every man who frequented my place tried to become intimate with one or more hostesses as soon as possible. Now the older the man and the more responsible his position, the less he drinks and the earlier he goes home—just the reverse of what it used to be," the madam said. "Company presidents really have to work at their jobs now," she added, "and they are more careful of their health. Before, underlings did all the work, and the president merely showed his face late in the day." One company president who favored mistress- keeping offered the following advice: "Keep the affair a secret from your employees and your wife and spend as much money as possible on your mistress. If you are stingy, your secret will come out and the affair will end in disaster." Social critic Soichi Oya once caused a mild sensation by comparing a mistress to an automobile. "Yes," he said, "a car and a mistress are very convenient to have, but both can become cumbersome. It is sometimes just as difficult to get
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rid of a mistress as it is to trade in an old car." The commotion that followed this widely reported remark came mostly from automobile dealers. They felt the statement would hurt their business.
__________________________________________________ In the late 1960s sociologist Soichi Oya was a member of a TV panel assembled to discuss the Japanese language edition of my recently published book, Bachelor’s Japan. When Oya San was asked to sum up his view of my book he said: ―Everything that Mr. De Mente said is true, but I wish he hadn’t said it!‖
Rando Fukuda, a noted bamboo-flute player, agreed that getting rid of an old-model mistress could create problems. Said he: "Friends often ask me to take over their mistresses, explaining that they have already paid them in full, so I wouldn't be out any money. But having a mistress can be like keeping a time bomb. Both can explode at any moment and shatter your life." Another social critic, Tsusai Sugawara, observed that good mistresses always have a number of characteristics in common. "They are all understanding and innately skilled in making a man feel relaxed and comfortable from the very first moment," he said. "Highly intelligent girls generally make poor mistresses. The ideal mistress is a sexy woman of slightly below average intelligence." Because wages and promotions in larger Japanese companies were generally based on length of service, as well as upon the number of dependents, a man was usually in his thirties before he could consider spending any of his income on a mistress or has acquired the privilege of spending company money for such outside activities. The average man taking a mistress was therefore around forty, and even at that age he might be considered presumptuous by older men unless he had his own business. Older men tended to feel that one should not take a mistress until he had "established himself" and was in his
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fifties or even his sixties. Mistress for the Foreign Community FOREIGNERS MAKING the largest contribution to mistress- keeping in Japan from the 1950s to the 1980s and beyond were the thousands of businessmen and diplomatic personnel swarming the large cities. Generally speaking, there were three main categories of foreign men who kept Japanese girls as mistresses. These were: 1) bachelors and married men whose families were not in Japan and who lived full time with their mistresses; 2) married men whose families were in Japan with them and who visited their mistresses periodically; 3) nonresident businessmen who visited Japan two or more times a year, often for two or three months at a time, during which they spent almost every night with a mistress. A fourth but very minor category was the few hundred foreign male students studying in Japan at any one time, since virtually all of them lived with mistresses during their stay. The first category of mistress-keepers actually appears to have been the least fortunate, especially so when the man was a bachelor. Japanese mistresses are much more jealous and restrictive when their patrons are foreigners. They not only expect faithfulness but also usually demand that their patrons spend all of their free time with them. As a result, these liaisons usually grow into domestic relationships in which the couple are accepted as husband and wife by their Japanese and foreign acquaintances. Because of the restrictive nature of such relationships some of these men eventually set up a second, part-time mistress. When this type of foreign patron marries his full-time mistress, it is usually because she is pregnant and he doesn't have the heart to abandon her or force her to have an abortion. The foreign bachelor patron who does not step out
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on his mistress and has no desire to leave Japan often ends up marrying her after three or four years simply to legalize what is already true in fact. The resident foreign mistress-keeper whose family was in Japan with him, whether his wife was Japanese or foreign, operated very much the same as a Japanese husband who kept a mistress. He visited her during the day or on his "night out with the boys." He sometimes managed to take her with him on business trips or arranged to meet her at his destination. Mistress-keepers in this category usually chose to be discreet about their outside activities. But some of the men whose wives were Japanese were often less discreet because they knew they had a better chance of getting by with it. These men often had had second thoughts about their Japanese spouses and were, consciously or unconsciously, "punishing" them by being unfaithful. Mistress-keepers in this category changed girls more often than those who lived with their women full time. The reason for this, of course, was that the women's hold on them was much weaker and could be more readily broken. The non-resident foreigner who kept a mistress in Japan and visited her during regular business trips there appears to have had the best of two worlds. His family was not so apt to find out or to be hurt by his outside interest, and he was not so likely to get too involved with a mistress he saw only two or three times a year for short periods. In most such arrangements the mistress received a monthly fee ranging from $100 to $500, even though her patron may have spent less than thirty days in Japan during a year. This money was often paid to the girl by the man's business connection in Japan, ostensibly for public relations or some other intangible service. Some export companies maintained a permanent staff of attractive girls who were "assigned" to foreign importers visiting Japan. Of course these girls were not kept exclu-
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sively for any one importer. In a year's time one girl might be mistress to a dozen or more men. For that matter, few of the girls who were completely sup- ported by non-resident patrons remain faithful during the long absences of their patrons. Most of them had one or more local lovers who might be foreign or Japanese, and some lived full time with resident patrons when their nonresident patrons were not in town. Most of the girls who served as mistresses to foreign business men, especially to non-resident businessmen, were hostesses or ex-hostesses from first-class clubs. These girls were not only among the most beautiful in Japan but were also among the brightest and most accomplished in the art of sophisticated living. Most of them, often to the chagrin of their foreign patrons, were also individualistic and strongwilled. One girl whose married importer patron embarrassed her while he was in Tokyo waited until he had returned to New York. Then she telephoned him at his home late at night and made him squirm. It can be a serious business for anyone, Japanese or foreign, to break off with a Japanese mistress. It is especially difficult for most foreigners because Japanese women do not react to foreigners the way they do to Japanese men. Furthermore, the foreigner generally does not know and so cannot follow traditional custom in severing relations with a mistress. Not many think of cold bloodedly buying their way out. Most are not willing to do so even when they do think of it because the idea is somehow repellent to them. Some try to come to an "intellectual understanding" that will make possible a clean, friendly parting from their mistresses. Others treat their mistresses unkindly and coldly over a period of time, hoping they will break off the relationship of their own accord. When the patron is a resident bachelor, neither of these
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tactics is likely to work, and in the end there are sordid fights and bitter recriminations. The married patron, resident or not, who is only a part-time mistress-keeper usually has an easier time of it. His mistress knows she is at a disadvantage. Her patron has only to stop visiting and paying her—and then hope she will not seek revenge by exposing him or embarrassing him in some other way. A foreign mistress-keeper who enlists the aid of a male Japanese friend to help him break off with a mistress is invariably advised to pay her the traditional consolation money. This is obviously the best way, but the foreign patron should not attempt to handle the negotiations himself. He should "go Japanese" all the way and bring in a go-between to handle everything for him—that is, if he wants to avoid a messy, emotional split. Ideally, of course, the foreigner who wants to set up a mistress while he is in Japan should settle the terms of the arrangement beforehand in a formal contract. But few Americans, particularly, are sophisticated enough or have developed their male superiority complex far enough to manage their affairs of the heart so mechanically. For all their reputed gentleness and dainty charm, Japanese women make formidable enemies. No member of the foreign community in Japan is without his stock of stories about "what happened to so-and-so when he broke off with his Japanese girl friend." These stories range from bizarre suicide attempts to berserk butcher-knife attacks. The foreigner who does finally decide to buy his way out may be in for a shock when he hears the first offer. Such consolation money generally amounts to enough to set the girl up in some modest business. Japanese girls have not yet given up all their traditional ways, but they have rejected some traditional attitudes out-right and bent others to suit their new circum- stances. John Robb (a pseudonym), the most astute and entertaining foreign columnist active in Japan in the 1970s,
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observed: "In her relationships with a foreigner, the Japanese girl certainly gives the immediate impression of the traditional compliance, but it is not long before the poor boob wakes up to the fact that he is being used with complete cynicism. Depending on the social level of the relationship, he is being taken for his money, his knowledge of English, or his influence—or for any one of a dozen reasons which have nothing to do with either affection or submission. Like the bamboo (a simile as apt as it is old), the Japanese girl yields easily but can whip back with a force which is like a healthy slap in the face. She is a tough little biddy indeed, sentimental but mentally unyielding. In fact she is just like the feminine sex the world over.
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Calligraphy: Woman + Tail = Active
An Artist's View of Mistress-Keeping
A WELL-KNOWN Japanese painter became notorious in the 1960s because of his views on marriage and mistresses. He disapproved of keeping mistresses. He said every man should be allowed to have as many legal wives as he wants and can afford. At that time, the painter had a legal wife and two mistresses but referred to them all as his "wives" and insisted that others do the same. He made no attempt to keep the situation a secret. In fact, he was interviewed on the subject many times and was a national figure because he practiced what he preached. In a well-publicized discussion about his wives the painter said: "A woman cannot have a baby twice a year, but a man can father a hundred children in less time than that. Man is certainly an animal, and in the animal world most males have many females at their disposal. In pre-modern Japan the law recognized the natural nature of man. Now Christianity gives the weak man the same rights to women as the strong. The result: cowards and
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weaklings are born one after another! Just imagine what happens to a man and woman who always face each other in the house. The woman becomes sloppy, jealous, and suspicious. The husband soon becomes disgusted with her, but he has to flatter her anyway. This exhausts him mentally and physically. Monogamy makes our life dark. As for my wives, I can keep them eternally fresh and young because they are in competition with each other." The painter, who was in his early sixties, maintained separate houses for his wives—one in the suburbs of Osaka, one in the Sumiyoshi district of the same city, and one in Tokyo. Each woman identified herself as his wife and, according to the painter, "enjoys her coexistence." Explaining his philosophy further, the painter said: "I love all of my wives equally and refuse to refer to them as first wife, second wife, and third wife. They are all my 'real' wives. I am a man living in earnest, and we are all happy. Because I am an artist, I hate telling a lie. I love women. Because I love all three of my wives, I feel I have to share the same mind and body with them. The best and only honest way to achieve this was to marry all of them. "I have always faced the reality of love seriously. The result is my three wives. People who believe a man is entitled to love only one woman are wrong. To see the truth, all you have to do is open your eyes to nature. Weak males die out. The strong ones propagate the species. The artificial morality most men try to live by is no better than a fable. I will tell you how I came to realize this. My father was a Shinto priest in Wakayama Prefecture. When I was a child, I was attacked by a serious illness and was near death. Around our house at that time were large cedar and camphor trees over a thousand years old. When racked by fever, I cried out: 'I wish I were a cedar! I wish I had been born a camphor tree!' "Afterward I realized that my life was only a small speck between the endless past and future. I reflected that since my life was no more than the point of a needle I should
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strive to live it to the fullest. I realized that the key to true happiness was to live a natural life with complete sincerity. "A man should not divide his affections among his wives, however. He should give his whole affection to each of them. I am afraid young women of today cannot understand what I mean. They would be jealous. But my wives are friends and get along quite well. I usually stay with each wife for a month at a time. If I stay on a little longer with one of my wives, she will ask me to go to my 'real' wife and enjoy myself. They all know how to love and be loving. I would like to build a house with four apartments and live with all of my wives together. I wish we four could go shopping together. At any rate I flatter myself that none here in Japan live such a serious life as we do." A celebrity because of his ideas and behavior, the painter ended each of his published interviews with the suggestion that anyone who disagreed should write to him and attempt to change his convictions. What did the painter's wives think of him and their situation? The very thorough Japanese press lets us know in detail. His first and only legal wife, who was fifty-eight, said: "I am now resigned to my fate, but I wish I had been more resolute when he took his second wife." This was all she would say in her own behalf. For the remainder of her story we turn to her husband, a friend, and his other wives. Said the painter: "My legal wife now lives quietly with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. We were married when I was twenty-four and she was twenty-two and both of us were engaged in teaching. After our marriage we enjoyed nine years of peaceful life and had one child. ―In the fall of 1927 I went to my wife with some hesitation and told her: 'I have a lovely young sweetheart. What shall I do with her?' My wife answered shortly: 'That's none of my business. Do what you want with her!' "But in reality my wife was greatly shocked. She made a secret visit to the coffee shop where my sweetheart worked
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and found her to be a girl of uncommon beauty. The girl was twenty-three at the time she became my second wife." The painter's first wife later confessed to a friend: "I regret having approved of my husband's conduct at that time. But then I thought it was a virtue for a woman to obey her husband blindly. If I had been able to resist more strongly, things would not have turned out like this. No wife should remain calm when she knows her husband loves another woman." To take her mind off her husband's affair, Mrs. Legal Wife or Mrs. Principal, as the other wives called her, took up weaving. After she had become reconciled to her position, she wove things not only for her husband but for his other wives as well. _______________________________________________
In former years all of Japan's major newspapers covered the mizu shobai faithfully, particularly with regard to news about geisha and their patrons. The last of the large "sex papers" to go more or less legitimate was the Naigai Times, which is still enough of a "man's" paper to cause tongue wagging and raised eyebrows when mentioned in polite company. Now the goings on in Japan’s ―water business‖ is covered—down to heavy breathing and weird sounds—by a collection of weekly magazines.
_______________________________________________ The second wife tells her story: "He was my first sweetheart. I fell in love with him when I was in the sixth grade of primary school and he was a young teacher. I met him again by chance after an interval of ten years, and we reminisced about the old school days. Two months later I met him again when he was out with his son. I was shocked to discover that he had a child, but I still loved him and couldn't give him up. I was not conscious of any feeling of immorality, but I felt sorry for his legal wife. ―I worked very hard and eventually became the manager of a small coffee shop. His wife often came to me for assistance, and I supported them with the proceeds from my shop. When I became pregnant, I wasn't worried about the
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future of my child because my husband was so devoted to me. I felt like his true wife. "After about ten years I moved to Tokyo. One day I told him half jokingly that I wouldn't mind if he found himself another wife in Osaka. Soon afterward he confessed that he had taken a third wife, a twenty-four-year-old girl who was studying painting under him. He asked me if he could bring her to meet me. When I became angry and refused, he reminded me of my casual remark earlier. One day when I returned home from shopping, there was a young woman sitting in our drawing room. ―I knew immediately who it was. But, strangely, we liked each other and quickly became close friends— like sisters. She comes up to Tokyo with my husband every other month and stays with us for about ten days. "When we three are together, it often upsets me because he is more helpful and attentive toward her than toward me. I sometimes get very angry with him and treat him harshly, especially when he is ill in bed. I have two daughters by him, but I don't want any of his property. He taught me to make dolls and glass pictures, so I am financially independent. He often tells me that I am free to do whatever I want. My life hasn't been the happiest one, but it has been more fortunate than unhappy. His legal wife is a fine woman, and his third wife is very intelligent. But I excel them in one respect. I am a good cook, and he prefers my cooking to theirs." The third wife says: "I think I am the happiest woman in the world. Ten years ago, when I was twenty-four, I fell in love with him even though I knew he had two wives. My parents were shocked speechless when he proposed that I become his third wife. I had had many proposals of marriage before that time. But I made up my mind to marry him because I knew I would never meet another man like him. Now some of my friends envy me. They say: 'You have lived your own way, haven't you?' "I have never been angry with my husband. Mrs. Principal and Mrs. Tokyo are my seniors, and I pay them much
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respect. His Tokyo wife is especially frank and warmhearted, and I like her very much. Each of us enjoys being a new bride for a month; then we become temporary widows for two months. We can devote ourselves to our favorite work during these two months without being disturbed. Mrs. Principal is a fine weaver. The glass pictures Mrs. Tokyo makes are works of art and sell for more than those our husband makes. I am an enthusiastic painter. "The average housewife devotes her whole life to her husband, but we dedicate one-third of our life to our husband and the remainder to ourselves. I am not dissatisfied with my present situation. The vegetable salad I make is one of my husband's favorite dishes. He never fails to eat it, along with milk, cheese, and honey for breakfast. I take very good care of him so that when he leaves here he will not be in a weakened condition. Otherwise, when he returns to me he might be in worse condition. I consider it my responsibility to see that he is always in good health. If he should become ill, I hope he will be confined at our house so I can be with him longer. He will probably take a younger, fourth wife before long, but I know he will continue to love all of us." The Association of Mistresses IT WAS TRADITIONAL in Japan for mistresses to live in seclusion, appearing in public with their patrons only on special occasions. It is interesting to note the changes that have already occurred and are still occurring in this respect. The first mistresses to break with the past as a group were those kept by American servicemen during the military occupation of Japan. Catering to foreigners ostracized these girls from Japanese society, and they had no choice but to turn to each other for company and solace. In the early 1960s, a group of seven women in Tokyo established a Ni-go Kai or Association of Mistresses. Six of these women were mistresses then. The seventh, an older
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sister of one of the six, was a divorcee and an ex-mistress who lost her property to a young lover who took advantage of her after her marriage broke up. Said the divorcé: "While working in an Akasaka club as a combination geisha-waitress, I became acquainted with five mistresses who also worked there part time. Later I opened a restaurant in Kanda, and the mistresses with whom I was on friendly terms came there often. We played majong together, gave parties, and discussed our private lives freely. We finally decided that instead of being content with the status of outcasts we would organize and attempt to win a better life for ourselves." The divorcee's younger sister, Miss Y, became a mistress soon after finishing college. When she was still in high school, she became infatuated with a university student. One day she went hiking with him. On the way home, she says, "I gave myself up to my sweetheart in the evening dusk." After graduating from high school she went on to a women's university. In the meantime her older sister had bankrupted the family by lavishing money on her young lover. Miss Y worked her way through college. She met her own lover once a week and was intimate with him each time. At first she believed that the sexual act was the only way a man could demonstrate his affections. But when she was a sophomore she attended a university dance and there learned that her lover had been intimate with several other girls. She also discovered that he was even then engaged to marry some other girl. Relates Y: "He invited me to the dance, but when I arrived I found him with that girl. He said to me: 'I have decided to marry this girl, so let's forget what happened between us in the past.' I was so shocked I could not understand what was going on. I was also overcome with shame and left the party in a daze. I came to my senses only after I arrived at the train station and a young man patted me on the shoulder. He turned out to be a junior at the same
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university that my former sweetheart attended. He said to me: 'I was at the information desk at the dance and saw you rush out looking very pale and disturbed. Please tell me what is wrong.' I was overwhelmed by his kindness and burst out crying. 'It is good to cry,' he said, 'but here you will be seen by everybody,' and while I was still numb he led me to a nearby inn." There the student quickly took advantage of Y's distraught condition and seduced her. He had no money, so she had to pay the room fee. He told her he also was working his way through college, and they began to meet regularly at different inns. Each time Y paid for their expenses. Finally she became so suspicious of her new lover that she made an inquiry at the university he was supposedly attending and learned that he was not actually enrolled there. He apparently hung around the campus to take advantage of unsuspecting and naive coeds. "With this experience, I came to despise men," Y said, "and began to value money above everything else." After she had graduated, Y went to work for the Japan branch of an American firm as secretary to the manager. The manager was a thirty-five-year-old American whose wife and children were still in the United States. He lived in a hotel. In a short time Y became his mistress. He took her on a trip to Hong Kong, bought her an expensive ring, and rented an apartment for her in a prestigious section of Tokyo's Akasaka district. In addition to paying the rent the manager gave her a monthly allowance. "Thus I became a professional mistress," said Y, "and I love my 'husband' dearly." Later the American's family moved to Japan to be with him, but he continued to retain Miss Y as his mistress. Miss N, another member of the Association of Mistresses, became a mistress when she was seventeen. Her father was killed in the war shortly after she was born. Her mother remarried, and N was adopted by an aunt who had been a
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mistress for many years. While she was in senior high school, N went to spend a winter holiday with her mother. One morning while her mother was cooking breakfast, her stepfather tried to rape her. N ran away. She joined a girl friend in similar circumstances, and they managed to open a small bar. One of their customers was the forty-two-year-old president of a small printing company who was married and had three children. One night the man came to the bar alone, stayed until closing time, and then insisted on escorting N to her room. She had been drinking with him and was "unable to refuse" his advances. He slept with her, and she consented to become his mistress. Miss F, age thirty-nine, was formerly a hostess, She tells her story: "About ten years ago I was working at a certain cabaret in Tokyo's Kamata area. One evening I won a piece of candy in a drawing. I put the candy in a box and set it aside. Later a customer came in, discovered the candy, and ate it. The circumstances were so funny that we soon became good friends. At the time I was living in an apartment catering to mistresses, but it was three months before I became intimate with my future 'husband.' ―One of the women who lived in the apartment kept advising me to let the man take care of me. I came from a poor family and had been raised by a relative who operated a geisha house. I married, but my husband squandered all his earnings on other women. When he was drinking, he would often go completely berserk. I divorced him and began working as a hostess. Then I began living with a man who worked for a security company. Soon afterward I became ill with TB, and the man deserted me. A year later I was back working as a hostess in Kamata, where I met my present 'husband.'" Miss I, the fourth member of the Ni-go Kai, deliberately became a mistress to further her career as a dancer. Born to a respected family in 1933, she began dancing lessons at the age of three under a master of the Hanayagi
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school. She was evacuated to Fukushima Prefecture during the war and there continued her dancing lessons at a girls' school. While in junior high school she was seduced by a distant cousin. When she was eighteen, her parents insisted that the young man marry her. He was the oldest son and had to succeed his father, so his parents blocked the marriage because Miss I was a dancer and "didn't qualify" as a bride. In an effort to force the issue Miss I began living with the young man. This caused a scandal. In disgust she fled to Tokyo. There she became an "instant geisha"—that is, one who becomes a geisha without first serving an apprenticeship. Shortly afterward she signed a contract to become the mistress of a fifty-five-year-old restaurant owner in return for $7,000 with which to continue her dancing lessons. The two remaining members of the Association of Mistresses told similar stories. Analyzing their situ- ations, the seven members of the association compared themselves to "happy Japanese housewives who have affection, rich sex and children, plus economic and mental stability." Miss Y's American patron, to whom she referred as her husband, visited her Akasaka apartment twice a week but never stayed overnight. Some of his visits took place during the day when he could get away from the office for an hour or so. Observed Miss Y: "Foreigners, including Americans, are said to be devoted to love-making techniques. But in comparison with typical Japanese behavior their techniques are disappointing. Foreigners are sometimes said to go through sixty-nine different preliminary moves before actually beginning the sex act. If this were true, it would make me very happy. "When my husband comes into my apartment, he kisses me gently. I cause my body to tremble as if I were very excited. He kisses me deeply. I remove my clothes while I am still in his arms, then take a shower and return to him.
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Once we begin making love, I am not conscious of any of the common sex taboos. It may be that I am more sexhungry than I realize, or perhaps I am driven by despair. "When I cannot bear to sit idle, waiting for my husband, I go to bars and seduce strange men. I also call up the Japanese chief of the business department of my husband's company and meet him regularly at some inn. He pays me after each meeting. ―Last year when a friend of my husband's came to Japan, I went with them to the Latin Quarter. After a while my husband suggested that I take his friend to a Japanese style restaurant, explaining that he had to leave to take care of some important business. I took my husband's friend to the restaurant, which had private rooms, and there we made love." The associated mistresses tended to judge their success (when compared to that of legal wives) by how often they "serviced" their patrons. Like Miss Y, one other member of the association said that she also picked up strange men at bars several times a month, even though her "service graph" showed that she had more visits from her patron than any of the other women. The seven women agreed that their biggest concern was the fact that their "husbands" had legal wives. Miss H was once attacked by her patron's wife. "He stayed all night with me only once a year—on New Year's Eve, when he told his wife he was going to pay homage to the Narita Shrine. At first he used to visit me every evening from seven until around ten. But his wife became suspicious and had one of his employees follow him. We were caught red-handed. After a big scene the three of us went to a nearby park for a 'conference,' but it ended in failure. ―His wife offered to pay me consolation money every month if I would break off the relationship. This was an insult, and I refused. We met several more times, and I discovered he was saying the same thing to both of us: 'I love only you and will not forsake you.' Finally he became
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fed up with his wife's complaining and forced her to give in by threatening to leave her." Miss H had a son by her patron. Miss F's patron was fifty, owned a successful store, and built a house for her. The house had four rooms downstairs and three upstairs. She rented part of it out. Her "husband" also bought her an insurance policy, and gave her pocket money every time he visited her. Miss I's "husband" gave her valuable land along the busy Chuo commuter railroad line as well as other real estate valued at over $30,000 (a small fortune in those days). Of the seven Ni-go Kai members only two wanted to contract legal marriages. These were the two who were the most active sexually, seducing several men each month in addition to serving their patrons. Both said they would marry only under certain conditions. They refused to hide the fact that they were mistresses, and they wanted wealthy men whose family ties were not complicated. Both would also demand the right to participate in the private and business affairs of their husbands—something they could hardly dream of doing as mistresses. The girl with the American patron said she hoped to have saved enough by the time the relationship ended to open a coffee shop. The other girl was trying to get her patron to help her open a beauty parlor. If he died before the shop materializes, she expected to become a cabaret hostess. The members of the Association of Mistresses had no serious regrets. "Unlike the average housewife, mistresses are able to remain young and attractive. Freedom is more important than anything else, and I couldn't be happier," said Miss S. Miss Y agreed. "I think more and more women will become mistresses in the future. This is a new Age of Mistresses," she said.
Mistress-Keeping in Japan / 66 A life of Ups and Downs
THE LIFE OF the average mistress in Japan—then and now—is not as pleasant as the above examples would seem to indicate. Considering the ups and downs of Miss S's career, it is surprising she was so philosophic. She began as mistress to a dry- goods-store owner. But even after he had set her up he continued to play around with geisha regularly. He would call in several at a time and after a while leave S and disappear into a back room with one of them. S finally got tired of watching this and enrolled at a dressmaking school. The store owner continued to support her, and two years later when she opened an apron-making shop he supplied her with materials. The business was profitable, but the store owner's wife found out about them and four times "stormed" S's apartment. Her patron stood by her, and when his legal wife refused to accept a large sum of consolation money he gave it to S. With the money she bought four houses and a retail concession in an underground arcade in downtown Tokyo. She also bought a large amount of stock in Mitsubishi Electric for about 75 cents a share, later selling it for $1.25 a share. Her friends envied her success and advised her to be content with her profits and stay out of business. But she became a geisha in the Akasaka district because she was bored with inactivity. Her patron visited her so often in her new expensive surroundings that his allowance to her would not cover their bills. Miss S finally had to quit the life of a geisha and began lending money, primarily to mistresses. One day she loaned money to the wife of the managing director of a wine company. The wife subsequently lost a huge amount in the stock market and was divorced by her husband. The husband met Miss S to pay his ex-wife's debt and immediately began trying to seduce her. When he discovered that she was the mistress of the dry-goods-store operator, he began to visit her patron and eventually talked
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him into giving Miss S up so he could marry her. Miss S and the managing director were married in an elaborate ceremony at the Meiji Memorial Hall. Their go-between was her former patron. After the wedding her old patron continued to send her gifts. This worried her new husband, and he always took her along when he went on business trips. Four years later he died of stomach cancer. When his obituary notice appeared in the newspapers, Miss S's old patron rushed to reclaim her. But six months later he too died of the same ailment. Later Miss S became the operator of a dormitory for a large company. "I was a mistress for eighteen years and have no regrets," she said. Mistresses Vs. Wives THE EMERGENCE OF mistress-keeping as a practice within the reach of the middle as well as the upper class resulted in a boom in the private-detective business in Japan. New agencies sprang up regularly, and all of them were said to be flooded with requests from wives who wanted their husbands investigated. The social position of mistresses had improved to the point where their rights were championed, and, like the Edo-period courtesans, they were made to appear as glamorous and enviable. But the younger the girls were, the more apt they were to resent being called mekake or ni-go. If their patron was an older married man, they even resented being referred to as a sweetheart. They preferred the very noncommittal term "friend." In their view they were simply exchanging sex for kindness and friendship. It was said that many middle-aged wives were relieved to discover that their husbands were keeping young office girls or students instead of consorting with cabaret or bar hostesses. Some middle-aged Japanese men claimed that maintaining a mistress was cheaper than marrying or associating
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with women in the entertainment trades. In the mid-1960s, one such man who then had three mistresses had reduced his sexual life to numbers to prove this point. He said that a man who married at twenty-five could expect to have sexual intercourse with his wife about 2,000 times by the time he reached the age of fifty. He then divided the typical salary man's total earnings during this period by the estimated number of times he had relations with his wife. On the basis of an average monthly income of just under $200, it costs the salary man a little over $25 every time he had his wife. The mathematician admitted that a husband got his home taken care of by his wife, but he still considered that a husband's entire income was nothing but payment for sexual intercourse with her. On the other hand, this man figured that it cost him only about $12 each time he visited one of his mistresses. He said that if he should pick up a street girl or a cabaret hostess for a night it would cost him around $30. His conclusion was that a mistress offered the cheapest sex a man could obtain. He emphasized that the more a man can patronize a mistress, the cheaper the per-visit cost becomes. He also pointed out that "it is not interesting to have intercourse with the same old wife over and over." Of course, not all Japanese men agreed with this particular spokesman's figures. But almost all of them appreciated his good intentions. In regard to the relative costliness of wives as opposed to mistresses (in the 1960s), it should be mentioned that roughmannered, low-class hostesses who slept in the bars and cabarets where they worked—and in the past were often referred to as chimpira [cheem-pee-rah] (a derogatory term meaning something like thug) —were said to be available as mistresses for a monthly fee of approximately $30, plus the rent for a one-room apartment which might cost anywhere from $15 to $30 a month. Office girls and students who advertised for patrons in the cheaper magazines ("We seek your assistance" or "We
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wish to keep company with gentlemen") were reportedly available for a slightly higher fee. Authorities on mistress-keeping summarized the situation by saying that one who was able to spend a minimum of $90 a month on a mistress would be able "to maintain his face as a man." Some Techniques of Mistress-Keeping AS COULD BE EXPECTED, during Japan's recent "age of mistress-keeping," patrons called on their mistresses at odd times, depending on the convenience of both parties. It is said that ni-go who worked during the day engaged in sex with their patrons within one hour after quitting time. Most patrons who kept hostess-mistresses (who worked at night) visited them in their own apartments in the afternoon or after midnight. The larger apartment buildings catering to mistresses, who were invariably high rent payers, were known as ni-go apartments. Office girls, married women, and student mistresses were usually taken, early in the evening, to inns and hotels euphemistically known as "love hotels."(Still today such hotels are found in abundance in several areas of Tokyo.) According to the very thorough Japanese press, which kept the public well informed on the practices and perils of mistress-keeping, "Since the proprietors of these love hotels do not care about what is going on in the rooms, the buildings suffer earthquake-like tremors every night. Some of the men stay overnight with their mistresses; others leave after an hour or so. Mistresses prefer men who stay overnight because they get better treatment from them. It appears that the legal wives of these overnighters approve of their conduct, since there is no limit to the men's 'sex time' day or night, although night is most favored. "The best time for secretary ni-go is their noon lunch hour. Higher executives of large companies often enjoy love
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affairs with their secretaries during this time, usually in restaurants or hotels. Older men may not be able to accomplish sexual intercourse in just an hour, but they treat their mistresses like pets and take delight in touching or licking their naked bodies. It is said there are many gentlemen who are devoted to this sort of love-making. ―When this is all a mistress's patron is capable of doing, however, it makes her unhappy, so she has no choice but to seek a liaison with a younger man. Thus she depends upon her patron for financial support and a young lover for sexual satisfaction." As it happened, most mistresses of that period were hostesses or ex-hostesses. Miss H was a typical exam- ple of a combination hostess-mistress—known colloquially as a jokyu ni-go. She was twenty-three, quite ugly, used very foul language, and worked in a cabaret in Tokyo's teeming Shinjuku Ward. She lived in an apartment about half an hour's train ride from Shinjuku. The apartment consisted of one six-mat room in Japanese style and one slightly smaller room in Western style. It was equipped with gas, water, and a toilet. Since Miss H was not attractive, she had few regular customers at the cabaret where she worked. Her monthly income was usually under $80 and was sometimes as low as $55 because she often skipped work several nights each month. Still, her apartment was rather expensively furnished. Her patron was a fifty-year-old businessman from Osaka whom she called "Papa." He came to Tokyo twice a month on different days without letting Miss H know in advance. As a result, she got ready for him every night. Commented Miss H: "Although he is an old man, we engage in sex every time he comes. He says that is his way of greeting me. ―I always look forward to his visits, first of all because he gives me a lot of money. Besides that, I enjoy the sex. If I tell you that I go to bed naked every night in the hope he will come, you will understand how sex-hungry I am. Even when he doesn't come, there is an advantage in lying in bed
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naked. I like the feeling of my bare thighs touching each other." Altogether Miss H got an average of $275 a month from her patron. Their relationship was in its third year at the time of this interview. During this era it was said in Japan that one could hardly throw a stone without hitting a ni-go. This "overflow of sex" resulted not only in a proliferation of mistress-keeping modern style but also in a new crop of terms to describe the various types of mistresses and situations. In addition to jokyu ni-go like Miss H and credit ni-go (as noted earlier) there were talent ni-go, model ni-go, hisho ni-go (secretrary-mistresses), mibojin (widow) ni-go, hitozuma (married woman) ni-go, college-girl ni-go, etc., etc., including girls and women identified by their religious sects. Areas in Tokyo that were especially famous for the number of mistresses who lived there included Kashi- wagi, Koenji, and every station from Yutenji to Den'enchofu on the flourishing Toyoko commuter line, which runs from Shibuya in Tokyo to Sakuragi-cho in Yokohama. Most of the mistresses lived in plush (for Japan) apartments, most of which were to some extent Western in style. The thousands of mistresses who did not work spent a lot of their free time window-shopping and patronizing the restaurants and coffee shops in such areas as the vicinity of Jiyugaoka Station, which serves one of Tokyo's wealthiest residential districts. In Jiyugaoka there was a tailor who specialized in making novel panties for women. The panties were colorfully decorated and equipped with a zipper down one side for quick removal. They went by the name of Neo (from "neon sign") Panties, and according to the maker they were sold primarily to mistresses. He said his purpose was to help women enjoy sex. "When a patron visits his mistress only once or twice a month," he explained, "it creates a very pleasant mood if her
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'delta area' is decorated with such panties." Then he added: "It would be interesting to watch a bald-headed man opening and closing the zipper of his mistress's panties."
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Calligraphy: Woman + Bough = Geisha
Some Prefer Geisha
THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN several types or categories of geisha in Japan. Some of these types engaged in prostitution; others did not. All, however, could become mistresses, and most if not all of them did so at one time or another. The profession of the geisha developed in licensed red-light districts in the latter half of the 1600's for the purpose of entertaining the courtesans' customers. A particular geisha's class was determined by her skill, beauty, location, and luck. The more unskilled and unattractive a geisha, the more likely it was for her to resort to or be forced into prostitution. With the deterioration of the large, elaborate licensed quarters after the downfall of the Tokugawa regime in 1868, the social status of professional prostitutes began to drop and that of geisha to rise. Within a few decades their positions were completely reversed. Geisha were the most elite of "public" women, and prostitutes were the lowest.
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Well-to-do businessmen and politicians began vying with each other to make the most famous geisha their mistresses. Perhaps the most celebrated example of a well- known personality pursuing a geisha had its beginning in the city of Shimonoseki in the 1860's. The city's leading gay quarter was a favorite playground for several of Japan's most daring young revolutionaries, who were then plotting to overthrow the feudal Tokugawa government. Among these revolutionaries was a man named Ito. His favorite house of recreation was the Hayashiya, which was presided over by a well-known madam named Toku. Like all of the young men who frequented the Hayashiya, Ito had his regular courtesan. Then he broke the rules by taking up with a geisha named Ume, who was the mistress of a merchant. One night Ito's courtesan caught him and Ume in a compromising situation and immediately reported him to the council of elders responsible for handling such breaches of conduct. A famous gang boss of the period tried to persuade the courtesan to forgive Ito and the geisha, but she was adamant. According to the code of the gay quarters, the only way Ito could redeem himself was to buy his freedom from the courtesan and buy the geisha from her employer. This involved a considerable sum of money, which was finally given to Ito by Toku, the madam of the Hayashiya. Ito then married the geisha, went on with his revolutionary activities, and eventually became one of Japan's outstanding prime ministers and the foremost statesman of the Meiji era—known to the world as Prince Hirobumi Ito. Just prior to and during the Pacific War the long, severe training traditionally required to turn out a first-class geisha became impractical and then impossible. Most geisha houses were eventually banned altogether. After the war ended, the old standard of training was watered down, and young girls no longer served apprenticeships of six to ten years in order to become licensed geisha. The old relation-
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ship between geisha and master—based on the geisha being sold to the master and always being in debt to him—also failed to survive the war. Modern-day geisha act more or less as independent businesswomen. The higher-class ones may belong to a union or guild. They may operate out of a geisha house, going to restaurants or inns to do their entertaining; or they live in an ordinary house or apartment like any working girl. If they live in a so-called geisha house, they pay the proprietor a fixed amount of money for their room and board and for being listed on the roster of geisha available from the establishment. No one knows how many geisha there are in Japan—or in Tokyo, for that matter. As of the 1970s, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Bureau estimated that there were between fifty and sixty recognized geisha associations in the city, with a total of four or five thousand geisha. A census taken several years earlier revealed that there were 2,200 teahouse-restaurants featuring geisha. About half of these girls worked out of geisha houses. About one-fourth of them are employed full time in specific ryotei (Japanese-style restaurant-inns). In addition to this large group there were several thousand other girls who dressed in kimono and passed themselves off as geisha, especially to the tourist trade. The number of geisha in Tokyo today has dwindled dramatically from the heyday of the 60s and 70s, but they still exist in impressive numbers and still operate much as they did during those years. The various geisha associations in Tokyo are organized locally—that is, according to the entertainment districts. Some forty of them belong to one of two federations, while others operated independently. The city's three highest-ranking geisha districts— Shimbashi, Akasaka, and Yanagibashi —belong to the Sanwa Kai or "Three Peace Association." The associations in the Yoshicho, Ushigome, Shitaya, Kudan, and adjoining areas are members of the Federation of Tokyo Geisha and
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Geisha House Associations. Those associations that have not federated are in the areas of Asakusa, Mukojima, Shibamata, Yoshiwara, and Fuchu and are mostly low class. The world of the geisha in present-day Tokyo is doing its best to keep up with the times. The Shimbashi district, long one of the best known, provided a good example of how things worked during Japan's recovery from World War II. By 1946, a year after the Pacific War ended, a number of small Japanese-style restaurants and machiai [mah-cheeaye] (assignation houses—a term now prohibited) offering the company and services of geisha were back in business. The number of such establishments grew rapidly, and the Shimbashi Geisha Association was finally inaugurated. This organization later spun off an affiliate known as the Shimbashi Geisha House Association. These two organizations were responsible for the training, general education, and health of their geisha members. The associations also took care of the girls' insurance and tax obligations. There were seventy geisha houses and four hundred registered geisha in Shimbashi. The associations had an agreement with the Shimbashi Japanese-Style Restaurant Association that members of the latter group would not call in unlicensed geisha. In practice, however, the restaurants regularly broke this agreement and called in independent girls. Shimbashi no longer has the traditional kemban or central geisha call office. When customers ask for geisha, the restaurant concerned contacts the geisha house of its choice directly. In the old days girls who became geisha had no choice in the matter. The decision was made for them when they were quite young. Now all the younger geisha are "volunteers." (There is no age limit for geisha, and many of those still active are well past middle age.) The girl who wants to become a geisha simply goes to a geisha house and puts in her application. The first-class houses still require a newcomer to demonstrate proficiency in singing, dancing, and playing the shamisen.
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A very talented girl may be accepted as a full-fledged geisha within a matter of days. But the average girl going to a first class place either takes up residence in the house or commutes and is put through a training course lasting for several months. The lower the class of the geisha house, the shorter this training and indoctrination period. In some houses it is only a matter of one or two short lectures. It costs a new geisha who gains membership in a reputable association a substantial fee to be listed as a member. The association then acts as a liaison agency between her and restaurants calling in for geisha. Some geisha avoid this fee by operating as free agents. The official working hours for geisha are from six to ten at night, but few are ever done before midnight. They remain "on duty" for as long as customers want them. In the 1960s the official fee for Shimbashi geisha was $2.50 for one hour, $5.30 for two hours, etc. In reality, however, guests who called in geisha were charged at the rate of $25 or more per geisha per hour, depending on the popularity of the individual geisha. It was estimated that the top geisha in Shimbashi, Akasaka, and Yanagibashi earned up to $10,000 a month. They probably ended up with about one-fifth of this, since—for one thing— kimono were outrageously expensive, and a first-class geisha paid as much as $2,000 for a single garment. (Rates have since gone up by a factor of five to ten times.) Despite the relative simplicity of becoming a geisha and the potential rewards for those who were successful in the profession, there was a shortage of first-class geisha in Japan even in the 1960s. Although the evils that were traditional in the prewar geisha world had been eliminated, the girls still had to be able to sing, dance, play go (Japanese checkers— similar to chess), majong, and golf, and converse intelligently on a broad spectrum of subjects. Most modern Japanese girls considered this a bit too much.
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Even during those decades the only men who could afford to patronize first-class geisha were the wealthy and ranking businessmen and politicians who had very liberal expense-account privileges. A geisha's sexual attractiveness is certainly more important now than her arts, regardless of her class, but experts in these matters say the importance of skill will soon reassert itself. This prediction is based on the fact that the better class of geisha cater exclusively to a select circle of men whose tastes become more and more refined—and therefore more traditional—as they grow older. Many geisha who received their training in the 1920's and '30's were still active in the 1960s, and they had not given up the arts they learned in their youth. In the late 1960s two members of the Shimbashi Geisha Association were designated by the government as "living cultural properties" in recognition of their mastery of the traditional geisha skills. The Azuma Odori (East Dance) staged annually by the Shimbashi Geisha Association attracts national interest. Since keeping a geisha as a mistress is complicated because of traditional customs that linger on, in addition to the tremendous expense involved, the average mistress-keeper today prefers to do his hunting among hostesses, call girls, or non-mizu-shobai groups. Some men are not averse to taking up with "instant geisha"—those who become geisha without benefit of any special training—because such women are so readily available. But Japan's "sex press" concludes that, of all women in the country, "instant geisha" are the least desirable as mistresses. Around dusk in present-day Japan, it is still possible to see geisha emerging from taxis, private cars and even rickshaws and entering exclusive "geisha inns" in famous entertainment districts in Tokyo, Kyoto and other major cities.
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Call Girls or "Instant Mistresses" MEN IN JAPAN who cannot afford to keep a full or even a part-time mistress support a large-scale call-girl system. The system operates under the guise of "date clubs," "straight clubs" and other such euphemisms. Girls who belong to the latter type of club go "straight" to a hotel or inn with a customer. Those who belong to the first type usually expect to be taken out to dinner and perhaps a movie beforehand. In order to avoid problems with the Anti prostitution Section of the Police Department the straight clubs operate as date clubs until personal contact is made between a club member and a customer. Then if the girl is sure the customer is not an undercover policeman trying to trap her, she will go directly to a "love hotel" with him. Both date clubs and straight clubs solicit customers by scattering name cards, posters, and advertising flyers around the thousands of sidewalk telephones, placing them under the windshield wipers of parked cars, and passing them out to men walking in the streets of entertainment districts. The clubs open for business around three in the afternoon. Each club is operated from a regular business office by several clerks. The girls report to the office and are assigned a number in the order of their arrival. The first girl to show up gets the first customer to call in, unless the customer is a regular and asks for a specific girl. The customer pays an introduction fee to the club as well as a fee for the girl. Part of the girl's fee may be kicked back to the club. Officially the clubs do nothing but introduce girls to men. Whatever arrangements they make later are their own private affair. This prevents the girls from being accused of having intercourse with nonspecific men and thus being guilty of prostitution. The clubs are cautious about ac-
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cepting new customers until it can be determined that they are not policemen in disguise. It is said that foreigners are readily accepted because there is very little chance of their being connected with the law. The date-club business is very competitive. Some clubs hire young students to go around and pick up the publicity posters and cards distributed by rival clubs. This has resulted in many of the smaller clubs' going out of business. It is predicted that large clubs will eventually gain control of the more desirable territories. In Tokyo, date clubs are most active in the Ikebukuro area. The majority of their customers are said to be the owners of textile stores in Kanda and medical-equipment dealers from Bunkyo Ward. In the past a number of Americans living in Japan have attempted to break into the date-club business, but so far all such efforts by foreigners have ended in failure. There are usually a few small clubs that cater more or less exclusively to foreigners. These clubs occasionally advertise their services in the local Englishlanguage newspapers. Girls who belong to the clubs catering to foreigners are mostly employees of second- and third-class shops and tiny companies. A few are nurses. For the most part they are very unsophisticated. Membership in the strictly Japanese-oriented clubs includes students and house wives. From the 1960s on, some of the most elite of the call girls have been freelance operators who cater to foreigners— particularly foreigners who are high up in their respective fields. An early example of this category of call girl is Miss K, who at the age of thirty-one had been a professional for ten years when her "memoirs" appeared in Bungei Shunju (which might be translated as something like "Literary Digest"), one of Japan's leading quality magazines. Her story is really remarkable and makes one wonder at the mischief such a girl could cause if she happened to be without principles and to be opportunistic at the same time. Miss K wrote in part: "Last year an international
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conference was held in Tokyo. It was an important conference attended by well-known figures from the world's leading financial institutions. During the conference I enjoyed myself very much. In fact, I had not had such a good time in several years. No matter how important or dignified a man may be, he is still a man and is always looking for an opportunity to have an outside affair. One of my clients was a man with a fine beard who appeared to be extremely timid. Near the end of the conference he managed to get his wife to go off on an excursion to Nikko without him. As soon as she was gone, he began trying to find a girl. At first he was unsuccessful. "Finally, just before his wife was to return, he called me. I have no idea where he got my phone number. His voice trembled with excitement. 'I still have a few hours left. Come to my hotel as quickly as possible,' he pleaded. When I arrived at his room, he was ready for me. I took a leisurely bath, intending to increase his passion by prolonging the period of anticipation, but he was afraid we might be discovered together and kept asking me to hurry. I deliberately teased him for a while longer. When we had finished the act, he was very grateful. 'Thank you! Thank you!' he said repeatedly, mopping the sweat from his face. Looking at him, I found it hard to believe that he was a famous man representing a respectable country." Miss K deplored the "drop in value" of Japanese girls over the last few years. She was even more concerned about the deterioration in the behavior of foreigners now visiting Japan. "The character of most foreigners who visit Japan today is really low in comparison with what it was several years ago," she noted. "When I first entered this business, most of the foreigners I met were kind and considerate. They referred to me as a lady and treated me like a doll. Nowadays few foreigners behave in such a gentlemanly fashion. Those whose visits last for only a few days tend to be the least offensive because they don't know how to get around. Most of those who stay for longer periods behave
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very badly. "Of course some of the blame for this can be laid on the young Japanese men who act as interpreters and guides for visiting foreigners. These men tell the visitors about the mizu shobai, and as a result the visitors are apt to believe that almost any Japanese girl can be had easily—for nothing. They are also apt to treat any girl who dates them like a common street girl. This has brought the price of Japanese girls down. Another reason why the value of Japanese girls has dropped is that they are often blindly attracted to foreigners and frequently give their favors away to undeserving men. If the Japanese girl tries to be selective, she is apt to be labeled as a professional." Miss K said, however, that most foreign men who patronized genuinely high-class call girls were not the type to try to get something for nothing. "They are willing to pay," she said, "but they are different from ordinary men in that they do not hesitate to specify the type of girl they want. The most common requirement is that she have good teeth and a slender build. More specifically, the average upperclass foreigner who seeks an affair with a Japanese call girl wants her to have a small face, large eyes, a broad forehead, a slender build (including small breasts), and an underdeveloped chin—which indicates a willingness to do what she is told." These preferences of certain foreigners apparently bother Miss K because she admitted to being angered by such requests. "I often feel like shouting to such men that they don't have to be so apologetic about their secret desires—for them just to go ahead and buy the type of woman they want. Most of them try to explain by saying they don't want the type of woman they can get in their own country." In Miss K's grading of foreign men, Americans got the lowest marks. She not only expressed an intense dislike for them but also said she didn't even like to hear the term "United States" any more. In her words: "American men treat women like mer-
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chandise. To them, Japanese girls are like bed sheets. What is worse, they are cheap. They all seem to make a hobby of trying to beat our prices down, and they will actually stop to argue about money while standing around naked." Next on the dislike list of call girls, according to Miss K, were Frenchmen. "We also hate Frenchmen," she said. "They pay lip service to romance and high ideals, but in reality they are callous and shrewd and have no respect for women at all. They live only for the moment and care nothing for the past or the future. Chinese men," she went on, "are not so bad, but it is disconcerting to be in their presence because they are so inscrutable." Miss K said the best of the foreign men she had associated with were Germans. She said she found them inclined toward stubbornness, "but there is nothing ambiguous about their attitude toward women. They are honest and keep their promises. Once I became acquainted with a German engineer who was only twenty-three. Probably because he was so nervous, he was unable to put his important organ to use. He was a handsome man. I was moved by his earnestness and devoted myself to him for three months, but I was unable to work him satisfactorily. When I left him, he asked for my photograph and thanked me. It made me feel a little sentimental." Miss K was employed as an interpreter-guide during the Tokyo Olympics. Her comments about her affairs with foreigners during this period are very revealing. "During the games, I associated with several different nationalities. I found the Italians to be very nice. They apparently engage in sex only in the daytime, preferring to sleep at night for the sake of their health and looks. I was told that, unlike Japanese firms, Italian companies have long noon recesses so their workers can go out and enjoy themselves. ―An Italian with whom I became intimate came to my apartment every day at noon. Regardless of my physical condition we engaged in sex three times each visit. It took him a long time to finish each act, and I wondered where he
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got the energy. He told me he made love every day throughout the year. When the average Japanese is tired, he doesn't eat much, but this Italian was just the opposite. Perhaps that was the source of his strength. He stayed in Japan for six months. I accommodated him every day without a break, and when it was over I had lost several pounds, but he was as healthy and vigorous as ever. I have known eight Italians, and most of them were like this." Continuing her rundown, Miss K found that Greeks were not as addicted to sex as Italians. She also observed that Greeks "have a curious habit of fondling women with their lips instead of their hands." She added: "After making love to a Greek I had the feeling that I didn't need a man any more." She described the love-making techniques of the Turks she met during the Olympics as "sadistic." "They always demanded that I assume some acrobatic position for lovemaking," she wrote. "It was hard on me at first, but after I got used to it I found the techniques of the average man no longer satisfying." Miss K has had many affairs with leading statesmen from around the world. Summarizing her opinion of them, she said that dynamic leaders of men always seemed to be strong sexually, whether from the East or from the West. Recounting her experiences with one of the leaders of a Southeast Asian country who visited Japan, she said he always drank three bottles of beer before engaging in sex. Then, she said, his caresses became so passionate that she always felt as though she were going to die of ecstasy. One of Miss K's duties during the Olympics was to help visiting foreigners, including those involved in the games, to locate women who were available for the amount of money the men could afford. "I was surprised to find how stingy and suspicious most of them were," she said. In addition to lining men up with women Miss K was responsible for getting them hotel reservations. "Ordinarily," she explained, "the hotels would not have accepted reservations requested by a woman late at night. But during the games
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they would always ask if I was connected with the Olympics. When I said yes, they were always polite and accommodating. Some even reduced their regular room charges to get our business." While working in this capacity, Miss K became acquainted with a number of foreign athletes and was subsequently intimate with three of them. "One of them turned out to be a virgin, so it is possible to say that not all foreigners are bad," she noted in some surprise. "He was a young school teacher who didn't know anything about women or sex. Looking at such a big man shaking with nervousness aroused my maternal instincts. I treated him as dearly as possible. Afterward he followed me to my apartment, and his coach had to come and get him. ―When this same coach gathered women for the members of his team, he always reserved the best looking girl for himself. Some of the athletes," continued Miss K, "insisted that they be provided with geisha for bed partners. I understand that street girls dressed in kimono were finally made available to them." Miss K claimed that during all her years of working as a professional call girl she has never been infected with venereal disease. "The secret," she says, "is not to be sexually intimate with nonspecific foreigners. I trade only with men of the type who will introduce me to their trusted friends. I receive two or three calls a week. My customers include movie actors, musicians, journalists, diplomats, and scholars. ―One of my strongest rules is that I never take on a visiting import buyer. No other category of people cause as much trouble as buyers. If one calls me, I steer him to some low-class girl." According to Miss K, the best and most trustworthy customers of high-class call girls in Tokyo are the higher ranking men connected with the various foreign embassies or legations. She explained: "They are the elite of their countries. They receive regular medical checkups and are
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the safest from the viewpoint of health. More importantly, they receive large incomes. ―Their attitude and behavior may differ, however. Diplomatic personnel from the so-called big powers do not want long-term relationships with the call girls they patronize. They prefer to pay as they go and avoid any possible future obligations. On the other hand, embassy personnel from the new nations seem to prefer long-term relationships even though this puts them in more danger of having their conduct made public." Miss K said that staff members of some embassies used to furnish her with whisky and cigarettes when these items were much in demand on the black market. She said she made a great deal of money selling cigarettes obtained in this way. "I was once picked up by the police for black marketing, but when I told them where I got the cigarettes I was released immediately. In this way I learned the meaning of diplomatic immunity." Miss K added that many highclass call girls got all the business they could handle from the various embassies. The largest fee Miss K ever received for her services was $550 for two hours. The customer was a dignitary from a small country "who was very much of a gentleman and very attractive." Miss K said she was fascinated by the man and left his apartment without bringing up the subject of compensation. The next day the man sent her $275 by messenger. In return she sent him six handkerchiefs. A few days later, just before the man left Japan, he sent her another $275 in yen with a note saying he had no more need of it and was giving it to her as a present. Miss K said she never quoted a price or asked her customers for money. To do so, she said, would put her into the category of a prostitute. Instead, when her clients started to offer her money, she told them that she didn't want it, that they should give her a gift, knowing that they would give her the money anyway and tell her to buy her own gift. She receives an average of $50 per session for her services and
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made a practice of "rebating" about 10 percent of this to each customer in the form of a token gift. When Miss K's memoirs were publishes she said she was content enough with her state of affairs. Her reputation was good because she was discreet and honest. To keep her life "organized" and to take up time when she had no engagements, she worked in a night club. She did not attempt to attract new customers through the club and never invited a customer there. In her ten years as a call girl she came to know many other girls in the same profession. Most of the higher-class ones were the daughters of middle- and upper-class families. She cited as a typical example the daughter of the manager of a well-known bank. During her school years this girl carried on a lesbian relationship with a schoolmate. After graduation the school friend dropped her and took up with a man. The girl immediately became a delinquent. Because her English was good, she soon found employment with a foreign firm. Then she moved into her own apartment and began operating as a part-time call girl catering to foreigners. Eventually her mother found out what she was doing and "forced her to marry into a respectable family." Miss K agreed that call girls catering to foreigners were on the increase. She referred to the trading companies that employed girls to entertain visiting buyers and to the so-called album girls, who are becoming more popular all the time. These were girls whose photographs and names appeared in albums distributed among certain overseas travel agents. The agents showed the albums to travelers scheduled to visit Japan. The traveler picked the girl he wanted, and the agent then notified the girl, who met the traveler as soon as he arrived in Japan—sometimes at the airport. This type of operation was said to be very profitable for both the girls and the agents. Another type of call girl that became common in the 1960s was the one who did the calling, actually soliciting customers by phone. The results, they say, were very good.
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Foreign girls who compete with Japanese call girls also come under Miss K's scrutiny. "At present," she wrote, "one can drop into a basement restaurant in Akasaka after midnight and see teen-age French and Italian girls waiting to pick up men. ―These girls, with their white legs sticking out, look just like dolls. But they are amateur prostitutes. I talked to one such group of girls and found them to be only sixteen years old. They were paying their way around the world by whoring. They said they intended to keep it up until they were twenty years old; then they were going to retire and start some business. They said they wanted to stay in Japan as long as possible because business was so good. Their ignorance was astonishing. "Women who are fascinated by the idea of making big money simply by engaging in sex with men seldom outgrow the idea. They usually look upon the men who patronize them as fools, but it is they who are the real fools. A man who carries on with call girls may be called a playboy, but he has no trouble raising a family and living an ordinary life. It is impossible for a girl to lead such a double life and difficult to quit one and begin another." The aging Miss K said she has no intention of remaining a call girl "forever." But she knew that her chances of making a suitable marriage were slim, and she saw the future as sad. She began her career at twenty, when she was seduced by a member of a foreign consulate and subsequently became his mistress. The man forced her to become a "sex spy" to oust an "opposition group" in his consulate. Later he was recalled to his country following a coup d'etat. Left alone, Miss K took up the call girl profession. The Tokyo Olympics are given credit for the rapid development of another category of call girls in Japan: a category made up of office girls, TV and movie actresses, and housewives whose husbands stay away from home for lengthy periods.
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Unusually sophisticated, these girls charged a handsome fee for their "full-course love." They catered to financially successful men who were too busy to go through the routine of making out with a hostess or an amateur. They advertised themselves by leaving name cards at public telephones. Printed on the cards was the query "Are you free this evening?" along with a name and phone number. High-class girls in this category insisted upon being taken to first-class restaurants and bars before the finale in a first-class inn or hotel. In addition to the girl's fee the customer had to be able and willing to pay a substantial amount for the expenses incurred. The advantage of patronizing this type of call girl, observed a mizu-shobai reporter, was that "one can enjoy various types of love affairs with various types of women." Quoting professional playboys, the reporter said that a second date with one of these call girls costs much less if the man is interested only in sex. If he preferred a "mood affair" in which the girl was also sexually stimulated, he had to expect the cost to be at least double. Other interesting hints about this new type of call girl were provided by the playboys. They preferred Western to Japanese food. They expected a man to pay to have their hair redone following a love-making session. Those who preferred "mood affairs" liked to be taken to resort spas away from the city so they wouldn't feel "inhibited" in their love-making. And the girls felt that it is the responsibility of the men to see that pregnancy did not result.
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Calligraphy: Bed + Woman = Adornment
Japan's Cabaret Hostess System
FOR THE MOST PART, Japan's cabarets and bars are a postwar phenomenon. Girls who go into them represent, to a certain extent, the types and classes of girls who in earlier years staffed the numerous gay quarters and pleasure inns throughout the country: the daughters of the poor, who often had no other choice, and the disillusioned and wayward daughters of the middle class. But today the percentage of girls who become hostesses because of economic adversity is far smaller than it was in the past, and a substantial majority of them enter the trade because they have been seduced and then deserted by men of one sort or another. There is also a relatively small but very important percentage of girls, usually educated and physically attractive, who are drawn to the mizu shobai simply because it offers excitement and pleasure or because they see it as a quick way to make a lot of money with which to accomplish some goal like starting their own business. As it happens, most of
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these volunteer hostesses are found in the higher-class cabarets and bars in large cities. The greatest concentration of them is in Tokyo's prestigious Ginza entertainment district, which has had the advantage of catering—until very recently, at least—to men with virtually unlimited expense accounts. Many of the hostesses in this last category originally came to Tokyo from some other city with the idea of becoming fashion models or actresses. Generally speaking, there are three types of hostesses in Japan's cabarets and bars. These types are determined by the character of the girls rather than by their looks. They are the "toy type," the "friend type," and the "wife type." At first glance all hostesses may appear like toys to a customer. "But when he goes to make a choice," an operator points out, "he will be influenced by his family environment, personal affairs, and other factors." The operator goes on: "An energetic man under thirty tends to seek a woman who is well developed physically. Men in their thirties choose women on the basis of their moods and romantic notions rather than simple sexual desire. A man past forty usually chooses a so-called transistor girl, who is tiny and doll-like. ―A man devoted to his wife is unconsciously attracted to a hostess who is her type. If a man doesn't particularly care for his wife, he usually chooses a girl who is her opposite. If his wife is tall, he prefers a short girl. A man who is physically weak is often fascinated by a woman of sturdy build. After a man has gone through a number of hostesses, he gradually settles on the type that is easiest for him to handle. "The toy type of hostess has an extremely sunny disposition. She does not think very deeply about anything and is always full of fun. Her primary shortcoming is that she is usually quick-tempered and as fickle as the wind. She makes the best mistress for a man who wants only to play and not to get emotionally involved with a hostess. The toy type of hostess-mistress can be dumped fairly easily be-
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cause her feelings are so shallow and flighty that she doesn't take it very seriously. This type of hostess is therefore the most popular with both cabaret customers and operators. ―The friend type of hostess is quite intelligent and has a strong personality. Hostesses who are tall and beautiful are often of this type. A timid or scholarly man is not popular with this type of hostess. She is difficult to get to know and still harder to win. Even when a customer manages to make out with her, she often proves to be "cold beef." Cabaret operators use this type of girl as "floor decoration," and the wiser mizu-shobai habitués avoid her. Not surprisingly, the average amateur customer believes this is the ideal type of hostess and the type that determines whether or not a cabaret will be successful. In actuality, too many beautiful hostesses of the cold type are most likely to ruin a cabaret. Rivalry among the beautiful, intelligent girls is intense, and their rather superior attitude toward everyone repels customers who are first attracted by their beauty. If a man does manage to talk one of these girls into becoming his mistress, he often finds out he has got more than he bargained for. She demands more than other types of hostess- mistresses. The wife type of hostess is a girl who looks some- what matronly and a little naive. She is very susceptible to falling in love with men. Of the three types of hostesses she is the most reliable and most consistent. If a customer gets too drunk and literally begins to throw his money away, she will make him stop. When she accepts a patron, she is careful not to ask for more money than he can afford. She behaves toward her patron like a legal but completely unselfish wife. It is very easy for the patron of this type of hostess to become deeply attached to her, and he often finds it impossible to part from her. Not many of the wife type of hostesses are beautiful, although they often have nice features and may be cute. It is axiomatic that a customer who becomes intimate with a wife type of hostess is likely to be letting himself in for
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trouble. Cabaret operators try to achieve a balance among the three types of hostesses by having a specific number of each. Most operators agree that the ideal situation is to have an equal number of all three types. Cabarets that have tried to make a go of it with just one type— particularly the tall, beautiful, friend type—have invariably failed. Beautiful girls who function as customer lures are known in the trade as "dry-ice beauties." In addition to having unusually attractive features, they may also look passionate. But men who work in cabarets say this appearance is deceptive—hence the comparison to dry ice. The men add that this type of hostess may act sophisticated, proud, and contemptuous of the baser aspects of the mizu shobai, but in reality she has no scruples about taking a customer for all she can get. Analyzing the unpopularity of truly beautiful women in the mizu shobai, a representative said: "The average man is too uncertain of himself to approach a beautiful girl. He prefers a hostess who has average looks, is good-natured, and is not very intelligent. Because of this the real beauties are often tied to gangsters." Most habitués of the entertainment areas are very pleased with themselves when they succeed in making an average looking hostess—not one of the beauties. In one way they would be better off to concentrate their efforts on the pretty girls and leave the plain ones alone. It is usually quite simple to break off an affair with an attractive girl. She is generally harder to win and more expensive to keep, but, given a certain amount of "parting" money, she will most often walk away without looking back. On the other hand, it usually requires major surgery to pry oneself loose from a plain girl. She may be more affectionate and better in bed, but a break with her is apt to be traumatic. Says an authority: "The good-natured man is attracted to both types of hostesses and usually suffers no matter which one he takes up with." There is another advantage in concentrating one's
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attention on the prettier girls. When one of these girls meets a man with whom she has had an affair, she will usually pretend to have forgotten the whole matter and almost never does she want to patch up a broken relationship. The plain Marys are much less likely to "forget" and often deliberately go out of their way to embarrass or take revenge on a former lover if they should meet again. A hostess who is almost exactly the opposite of the "dry-ice beauty" in character and temperament is known as kobanzame [koh-bahn-zah-may] or sucker (a fish). Once she falls for a man, she clings to him like a leech, no matter how hard he tries to get rid of her. These, then, are the hostesses classified according to general type. The classification of hostesses according to methods of operation during duty and off-duty hours is a matter of equal importance, as the novice patron of the mizu shobai quickly discovers. Japanese writers and journalists who specialize in mizushobai themes—and there are hundreds of such writers— say that when a girl becomes a hostess it is something like getting married. Some girls have good luck, others nothing but bad. Much depends on the first bar or cabaret they enter as a novice, and this, of course, depends in turn on where they are, their looks, their age, and many other circumstances. The attractive girl who goes into a well-known cabaret that attracts "respectable" customers is soon enjoying the amenities that a good income will buy, and often associates with men of importance. The girl who blunders into a cabaret frequented by a clientele who will not pay their bills may soon be in debt and have to resort to some form of prostitution. The inexperienced, unsophisticated girl who comes up to the city from the countryside almost always gets sucked into a lower-class establishment and in no time ends up having to do a lot of extracurricular work to make ends meet. Not surprisingly, many cabaret customers try to make out with the hostesses. This puts the girls on the spot. If they
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go to "love hotels" with customers, the men soon stop being customers. If they refuse un-tactfully, they may lose them as customers anyway. The girls have worked out standard routines for refusing such invitations. The most common excuse is to claim they are menstruating. Another one is to say they live with younger brothers or sisters and must go directly home to take care of them. Whatever excuse they employ to refuse a customer, the girls are advised to be witty and good-natured. Generally, the longer a hostess can diplomatically avoid having sexual intercourse with a customer, the longer he will patronize her in the hope of breaking her down. Many girls, however, cannot stand the psycho- logical strain this puts on them. Says a cabaret operator: "There has been an alarming increase in the volume of 'amorous service' in the last few years, but there is a limit to this sort of 'body tactic.' Customers are interested in sex, of course, but the hostess must also stimulate her customers on an intellectual level to be really successful. I tell my hostesses to make themselves into stars, with their customers in the role of fans. The top hostess should certainly be able to make her customers treat her like a movie star." The usual training given hostesses is nothing more than tips on how to please customers and get them to spend more money. For example, the girls are told to always take two cigarettes when they bum a smoke from a customer, put both of them in their mouth, light them, and hand one back to him. This puts the customer in the position of having to thank the hostess for one of his own cigarettes. At the tenko (roll call) when the cabaret opens in the evening the manager may give a short talk on the perils facing the girls if they fall in love with customers. They are advised to make the customer fall in love with them but to keep their own emotions in check. They are told that customers do not come to cabarets looking for brides but to have fun. Rather than look for husbands, the girls are
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advised to encourage their customers to spend liberally and come often. "I don't mean to interfere in your affairs," one operator tells his girls. "If you want to go to a hotel with a customer for a little 'overtime,' that is your business. But I do not think such behavior is wise. It will influence you to give your customer special treatment because he is your lover. You will also be tempted to ask him to conserve his money so that he will have more available for your date. When this happens, it is useless for us to keep you on the payroll. ―The longer you work as hostesses, the more you will come to realize that you are like toys in the eyes of customers. Perhaps an even better description would be fish. Fishermen will often go to any length to catch a fish, but once they have caught it they quickly lose interest. No fisherman feeds or otherwise takes care of a fish after he has caught it. He either eats it or throws it back into the water. " The turnover among hostesses in Japan's cabarets and night clubs is very high. In some clubs girls leave and are replaced by newcomers every week. When the new girls are fairly sophisticated in manner and appearance, club managers know immediately that they are "gypsies." Those who are novices get such brief lectures as the following (taken down verbatim from a manager): "I will give you some advice that you should keep in mind not only when you are in the world of the mizu shobai but at other times as well. ―Needless to say, a woman's chief value lies in her physical purity. But if you have already unfortunately lost that purity, you should not go on repeating the mistake. In our present society mental purity is more important than physical. A man considers a twenty- five-year-old non virgin who has kept her youthfulness and mental purity more valuable than a thirty-year-old virgin. Young women working at a place like this are apt to go to extremes. You should value your youthfulness, for once it is gone you have to depend upon something else to attract men." Other instructions given to hostesses at the daily roll call
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are equally interesting: "If your customer happens to be a man of bad conduct, you should rest the upper part of your body against his, with your legs separated and the lower part of your body extending away from him. This way he cannot sneak his fingers past your skirt, but he will feel he is being made much of by your behavior and will thereby be encouraged to spend more money. When a customer leaves his seat and goes to the toilet, you should follow him. You must not leave him alone because when a man in a cabaret is urinating he is most reminded of his wife and family." Girls who work in a certain Tokyo club known for its "sex mood" are given the following advice: "However hateful your customer may be, you must act as though you have fallen in love with him and are ready to sleep with him. He will think he is going to have you soon and will spend more generously. At your first meeting tell him you are going to invite him to your apartment, but put him off until you 'get to know him better.' On his second visit tell him the general area where you live but put him off again. On his third visit be a little more specific about where you live. The fourth time, tell him a little more. Continue to put him off as long as possible. ―When it comes to the point where you have to give him your exact address and apartment number, tell him to come to your apartment the following Sunday. In the meantime you should have gotten enough money out of him to move to another apartment before Sunday comes." Another manager tells his hostesses: "It would be good for you to sleep with your customers from the viewpoint of health, but you should never sleep with a customer unless you are willing to lose his patronage and lessen your value to the club. You should hold on to what you have and then sell it dearly. The good hostess does not sell sex, she sells sexuality." Cabaret customers are especially attracted to novice hostesses. As a result, managers like to have several new girls on their crew at all times. For the first few weeks these
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girls are instructed to "remain like flowers"; to act simple, girlish, and naive. If there are no real novices at hand, some of the experienced girls who have just joined the club will put on an act of innocence. The genuine novices who are thrown to the wolves this way become experts at handling men by first observing and then going through a period of on-the-job training. Most new girls have a patron within two or three months and are ensconced in comfortable apartments as mistresses in no time at all.
A Hostess Reader
EVEN THOUGH FEW do very much about it, the education and trainings of hostesses is a common topic of conversation among cabaret operators. As far back as the early 1960s, one enterprising club owner published a textbook for hostesses called, appropriately enough, A Hostess Reader. Among other things, the book tells a hostess how to lessen the chances of a customer coming in, drinking, and then leaving her stuck with the bill by claiming to be broke. Upon meeting a customer, the book advises, the girl should take hold of his hands in a friendly, effusive greeting and, while she is at it, check to see if he is wearing a watch. Later, if he says he cannot pay, she can demand that he leave his watch with her as security. Written by the president of a well-known cabaret in Osaka, A Hostess Reader is divided into three sections: "Service," "Performance," and "Etiquette." Under "Service" the book points out that, contrary to the popular concept, service does not mean a reduction in price or something extra. It means, instead, all of the "duties" the hostess is expected to perform for her customer— like pouring his beer or sake, lighting his cigarettes, offering him food, carrying on a conversation with him, and dancing with him. The book adds that customers in cabarets should not be expected to act like gentlemen. They are not there for that,
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the book says. They are there for a good time. And "regardless of their behavior it is the duty of the hostess to give them good service." The book then classifies the less desirable types of cabaret customers into three categories: schizoid, cycloid, and screwy. The first type is fickle, the book explains. They seldom ask for the same hostess—the traditional custom in the mizu shobai— and this causes trouble among the girls. The guide goes on to say that the second type undesirable customers, the cycloids, are the unpredictable ones. They may be gentle, cheerful, and good-natured one moment and sullen, angry, or violent the next. The third category contains those who are a little "weird." This type of customer, who is very common, is inclined to be moody and prone to argue and fight at the slightest provocation. When faced with the type of customer who is argumentative, angry, or otherwise unpleasant, the hostess is advised to remain calm and polite and not to oppose him. She is told to thank the man for giving her the opportunity to prove herself a capable hostess. The book observes that girls with endurance are more valuable to cabarets than those with beauty. It goes on to say that girls who are most likely to have this endurance—that is, to be submissive and have great patience—are those who are "pure Japanese." Next, the textbook exhorts hostesses to appear womanly. It says: "The secret desire of every man is to have a hostess whose behavior is completely feminine. Women with strong personalities are popular for only a short time and are often left out in the cold. It is therefore very important for a hostess not to lose her genuine character." Then follows a chapter on how hostesses should approach customers. It explains that there are four terms to describe the basic attitude that hostesses should have toward their customers. These are: "'Yes,' which expresses one's frankness; 'sorry,' which expresses one's regret for failings; 'owing to you,' expressive of modesty; and 'thank you,' expressive of
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one's feeling of gratitude. A hostess cannot expect to be effective until she has mastered these four principles." According to A Hostess Reader, the first rule in approaching a customer is to smile. Since it may be difficult for a girl to smile when her spirits are low, she is advised to practice smiling in front of her mirror every day before leaving for work. She is reminded that a hostess who doesn't smile is worthless. But merely smiling is not "service," the book warns. The girl must engage her customer in conversation, the topic to be whatever pleases him most. As for compliments, a hostess should not tell her customer he looks like some famous movie star. It is best, the book says, to limit praise to some concrete detail like his hair, his eyes, or the material of his suit. The hostess should "take the initiative in starting a conversation. But as soon as the customer warms up, you should become a listener, agreeing with his opinions even when he talks nonsense. You should also make your customer feel at home by maintaining good eye contact with him. This means focusing your eyes on the customer's face two-thirds of the time and on his necktie or your own fingers the rest of the time." Under the section called "Performance" hostesses are advised to maintain the mental alertness and watchfulness of a pickpocket at work. Where and how a hostess sits is also important, the book observes. She is advised not to sit "beside" her customers but "among" them. Then the first thing she should do is to determine which member of the group is the leader. As soon as she locates him, she should immediately move to his side. Furthermore, "a hostess is not supposed to sit in a relaxed manner. She should always be poised to move but at the same time sit in such a way that it shows off her legs to the best advantage." It is customary in Japan for people to carry name cards and exchange them whenever they meet strangers. Says the hostess handbook: "A hostess should not merely hand her
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name card over to a new customer, however. She must make a production out of it so that the customer will remember her." Many girls write something on the back of their cards to help the customer associate their name and face. Others have perfumed cards. However the girls choose to pass out their cards, they are urged to do so in such a way that the customer will reciprocate and identify himself. The girls pick professional names that are easy to remember because of some association. They also resort to various gimmicks during the course of an evening to impress their names upon desirable customers. In Osaka, for example, iced coffee is often referred to as reiko, which is also a common girl's name. [One of the meanings of rei is cold, chilly, freezing.] Many hostesses adopt this name because it allows them to say: "My name is Reiko, but I am not as cold as iced coffee." Hostesses also use various association tricks to help them memorize the names of customers. Many develop phenomenal memories. Foreign visitors to Japan invariably remark on the seductiveness of cabaret hostesses. Much of this seductiveness is clever acting. A favorite technique is the use of the eyes. As explained by A Hostess Reader, it goes like this: "First of all, glance at something on the table. Then cast your eyes down to the floor. After a second or two raise them up to your customer's eyes. If you become good at this, your customer will soon realize how seductive you are.
BECAUSE IT IS well known that men are attracted to young nubile girls, some of Japan's cabaret operators have traditionally capitalize on this by employing only teen-age girls as hostesses. Surprisingly, however, this gimmick does not work for clubs catering to the older big-spending expense-account executives. The first of such top-ranking clubs that tried to stack the cards in their favor by featuring teen-age girls soon found themselves invaded every night
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by young men of the hoodlum type who were attracted by the youthful, fun-loving girls. In no time these clubs either degenerated in class or stopped hiring young girls. It turned out that the young girls were not interested in business and cared very little, if anything, about whether the cabarets made money. Their only interest was in having a good time—with boys nearer their own age. Up to this time young Japanese girls had been conditioned to entertaining older men, but, given the opportunity, many of them found it was even more fun to play with young men. At the same time older Japanese men began to find it hard to understand and appreciate the young girls. Later, teenage hostesses were found mostly in the large arusaro [ah-rue-sah-roh] (the word is a contraction of the German arbeit and the French salon and means something like "part-time-work saloon"), which abounded in Japan and catered to teen-age boys and young men in their twenties and early thirties who were not entitled to drink and carouse at company expense. Like their older sisters in the cabarets, many of the teen-age girls working in the arusaro had patrons, but the majority had actual sweethearts with whom they lived, or with whom they frequented nearby "love hotels." The arusaro first appeared in Osaka in 1950, featuring young amateur hostesses and drinks at prices the ordinary salary man could afford. From Osaka they spread throughout Japan like wildfire. At first only the cabarets in such second and third-class areas as Tokyo's Kanda district suffered from arusaro competition, but as their popularity grew, the first-class Ginza clubs also began to feel the pressure. Said a cabaret operator: "Although it may sound a little exaggerated, young and old people alike seem to have gone crazy about the part-time-work saloons. Such places are revolutionary in Japan's mizu shobai because a man can go there and enjoy 'instant love' with an amateur girl for a few hundred yen, which is not even enough to tip a hostess in a
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respectable cabaret." With the appearance of the arusaro the profession of hostess took on a different look and is now divided into three categories of personnel. The first category is made up of the amateur hostesses, who are usually teenage students or office girls who spend their evenings in the mizu shobai—primarily for fun and thrills. The second category includes girls who depend upon their activities in the mizu shobai for their livelihood and might be classified as semi-professional instead of professional because they do not follow all the rules of the trade. The third group comprises the so-called classical hostesses, who take pride in their occupation, dress expensively, and cater only to a first-class clientele. Before the development of the arusaro, prices in the better cabarets and bars were never "set." Customers were charged according to a sliding scale determined by their ability to pay. Still, a customer who spent five or ten minutes in a first-class Ginza bar and drank only one beer could expect to be billed for up to ten times its actual cost. During those years it was customary to rate a bar or cabaret by its average price for a bottle of beer, not including "service" charges and charges for hors d'oeuvres. One never knew, however, exactly how much his bill was going to be. The arusaro introduced a system of offering cus- tomers so many drinks for a specific sum of money that included the service and other charges. This proved immensely popular not only with the rising young middle-class workers who had not reached the expense-account plateau but also with junior executives on more modest expense accounts. The overall result of the development of the arusaro was a rapid decline in the number of exclusive, astronomically expensive clubs and a proliferation of the arusaro, even on the Ginza. Next came an inexpensive cash-and-carry taishu [tie-shuu] bar, which catered to students and younger workers, who used it as a pickup place. These new bars were
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quite large in size. They sold mixed drinks for less than a 100 yen and had dance floors. They drew customers away from the ubiquitous coffee shops, which charged twice as much for a cup of coffee without dancing. The taishu bars also had an adverse effect on cabaret business.
Hostesses vs. Playboys
MANY MEN naturally try to make time with hostesses without spending a lot of money at the cabarets or bars where the girls work. The usual practice is to attempt to phone them and invite them out after hours. This seldom works. Most cabarets refuse to call hostesses to the phone after a certain hour. Men try to get around this by posing as the police, a family friend, or even the father of the girl they want, claiming that the call is an emergency. The managers and other male employees of cabarets become clever at detecting such gambits and are not above telling the callers off if they persist. Cabaret managers say the hardest men to handle in cases like this are those in their fifties who are devoted to "beast love." (The managers add that young men in their twenties are devoted to "romantic love," men in their thirties to "quiet love," and men in their forties to "sexual love.") In comparing the advantages in keeping a hostess as a mistress, one of the main points brought out by professional playboys is that it is possible to deal directly with her in a businesslike way. "In fact," says one, "all the libertines I know have hostesses as mistresses. ―Of course you have to watch a hostess closely or she will be unfaithful to you at the first opportunity. And even though older mistress-keepers are apt to suffer high blood pressure and other ailments when their ni-go betray them, there is nevertheless a trend for men to make short-term arrangements with fickle hostesses."
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The playboy went on: "I have no intention of defending men, but present-day hostesses just seem to be promiscuous. At the same time it is hard to blame them. They may make a contract with a man in good faith. A short time later along comes another man whom they find more attractive for financial or physical reasons. If their passion for their first 'husband' has cooled, they cannot be prevented from changing. Many patrons are not able to visit their mistresses regularly, and the girls soon become sexually frustrated. When criticized for their conduct, most of these girls become sulky and then burst out crying." This expert concludes that it is not the fault of the hostesses that they bounce from the bed of one patron to another. He lays the blame on the professional playboys, who are completely callous and sometimes brutal in their treatment of women. Such men have always been the mizu shobai's most energetic customers. They take a perverse pride in their continuous stream of conquests, bragging incessantly. But strangely, says the expert, it is their very callousness and disdain toward women that make them so attractive to hostesses. Girls to whom the playboy brags cannot help throwing themselves at him in an effort to prove they are better than those who have gone before them. The habitué points out that even professional hostesses who have had four or five years' experience are no match for men who have been sharpening their wiles in the world of the mizu shobai for twenty to forty years. As an example of the amateurish standing of most hostesses, the habitué points to the number of pregnancies the average girl experiences over a period of two or three years. Nearly all of the pregnancies are aborted. In earlier mizu-shobai parlance this was known rather indelicately as the "blood-gut operation." The operation was so common (and cheap) that it was something of a joking matter. It was also occasionally referred to as the "Ginza blood-gut operation" in honor of that well-known entertainment district.
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The incidence of pregnancy has always been relatively high among hostesses because they feel that the use of contraceptives would result in their being called whores. As a further result of this attitude they are often more often diseased than the girls who operate as professional prostitutes. In earlier years, hostesses and other amateur girls who were particularly promiscuous were known as "public urinals" when they didn't take money for their favors—and sometimes when they did. The girls themselves blame the men for their pregnancies and diseases. Said one: "When a customer takes us out he is almost always drunk. He is seldom if ever prepared with contraceptives, and once we reach a hotel or an inn, he refuses to go and get any." Penicillin and other such drugs are available at any corner drugstore in Japan—some of them already in syringes and ready for self-use. As a result men and women regularly treat themselves for diseases. Most, however, tend to over-treat, thereby lessening the effect of the drugs. One ex-hostess who had had several bouts with VD said she had given herself a hundred shots of penicillin before becoming the mistress of a foreigner.
A "Kinsey Report" on Hostesses
THERE IS NO AREA of Japanese life as regularly or as thoroughly exposed to the reading public as the "floating world." An early typical study published by the weekly Asahi Geino concerned the sex psychology and behavior of hostesses compared with that of geisha and waitresses working in coffee shops. The survey concluded that the average hostess did indeed join the floating world on a full-time basis after being forced into sexual intimacy by a customer, a teacher, a student acquaintance, or a boy friend. Once in the mizu shobai, she develops a professional attitude toward sex in no
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time. She makes some effort to be selective in her choice of short-time partners and often feels that it is "cheating" to enjoy the sex act with nonspecific men. Commented one hostess: "When I entertain my customers sexually, I try to make sure they enjoy it, but I seldom get excited." Most of the hostesses interviewed said they found sex pleasant, but only 10 percent said they regularly reached a climax when entertaining customers. Explained another: "The reason for this is very simple. A customer is still a customer even if we happen to like him very much. He is not a husband or a sweetheart. Anyway, we couldn't stand it if we reached a climax every time we engaged in sex. We reserve that for our real sweethearts." Seventy percent of the hostesses questioned considered money the most valuable thing in life. Security and love followed in that order. They listed the ideal husband as a successful businessman or property owner. In contrast to the hostess, the typical first-class geisha— often middle-aged or older—was found to have more or less grown up in the mizu shobai as the daughter of a geisha, a maid, a prostitute, or a whorehouse madam. As such, she had been slated for the profession from an early age and had no choice in the matter. Afterward various feudal-type obligations bind her to the trade, although she is free to give it up any time she wants to. Rather than being aggressive in matters of sex like the average hostess, the professional geisha tends to be passive. She feels that it is impossible to satisfy a patron sexually without going all the way. Instead of controlling her passion she tries to achieve a climax each time she entertains a customer. The selfeffacing young geisha is not as optimistic about marriage as the hostess. She feels that a patron who will set her up in business is the best she can hope for. Waitresses in coffee shops (which were large and immensely popular during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, were quite different. Most of them began working when they
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were sixteen or seventeen. Most had their first sexual experience while still in junior high school. Those who didn't usually gave themselves to a customer within six months. But, unlike the more calculating hostesses and geisha, young coffee-shop waitresses are usually controlled by their emotions and their desire to have a good time. Their liaisons are affairs of the heart. The waitresses do not become concerned about money until they are older. As a result they tend to be in competition with coeds and office girls for the attentions of men. Geisha, on the other hand, say their biggest competitors are young wives who have nice, happy homes. Hostesses are in competition with women in all categories. According to the Asahi Geino study, there was only one subject on which waitresses, geisha, and hostesses tend to agree. This was their attitude toward men who are obviously good husbands and have attractive, loving wives. Said a geisha: "When I am told to serve a new customer who has a fine wife, I want very much to seduce that man. I want to take possession of him and cause his fine wife trouble. I have actually done this. Once I made a beautiful young wife weep bitterly and beg me to give her husband back. I felt sorry for her and let him go, but I felt I had humbled both her and her proud husband." Added a 23-year-old hostess: "Strangely enough, I develop a fighting spirit when I sit next to a quiet married customer but not when I sit next to a customer who is a good-for-nothing bachelor playboy. I am particularly excited by a man who has a gentle wife waiting for him at home. I always try to seduce that type of man. If he responds, I become so passionate that I forget all about business. I know it is wrong to deliberately try to get him into trouble, but I can't help it. Anyway, such men come to cabarets of their own accord, so if something like that happens to them it is only because they invited it." Participating in a round-table discussion of their sex life, five young Ginza hostesses agreed unanimously that it was
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impossible for a girl in the mizu shobai to remain a virgin. By coincidence all of the five had had their first real sex experience when they were seventeen. Three out of the five said they were forced by a customer or a friend. Asked about marriage, four said they preferred to become mistresses. Waitresses, on the other hand, were much more romantically inclined than the other categories of "public" women. Asked to name the types of men who would make ideal husbands, they listed artists, professional sports- men, and "handsome" men. In general, Osaka hostesses were quite different from those in Tokyo. Tokyo hostesses in first-class places are known for their sophistication and good looks, while those in Osaka are noted for being kind, gentle, and easy to approach. This, the experts say, is a reflection of the difference in the tastes and desires of cabaret customers. The Osaka patron insists upon service and a soft, warm response from hostesses. The Tokyo man will accept much less in the name of beauty and sophistication. There is also a conspicuous difference between Osaka and Tokyo cabarets. Cabaret operators in Osaka provide their hostesses with large, attractively decorated dressing rooms and toilet facilities. Tokyo cabarets usually have small, primitive toilets and dressing rooms that are little more than narrow cubbyholes. Osaka hostesses tend to be loyal to their clubs and move around much less than their Tokyo sisters. They are more likely to refuse to date a customer and to insist that he patronize their club if he wants to see them. Despite this conservative, businesslike nature, Osaka hostesses are reputedly easier to seduce than Tokyo hostesses. The typical Osaka businessman expects to make out with a hostess no later than the second time he patronizes her. The average Tokyo customer waits until the third or fourth visit before making his pitch. Says an Osaka businessman: "If you find a hostess attractive, you should
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try to seduce her immediately. In most cases the better you get to know a hostess, the more difficult it becomes to win her." Approximately 80 percent of the hostesses in Osaka are said to be serving as full-time mistresses or to be married. In Tokyo about 50 percent of the girls are attached. The manager of a cabaret employing 130 girls recently had them investigated in an effort to improve the quality and efficiency of his staff. The results were very interesting and were said to be similar to those in surveys made by other clubs. The report was primarily concerned with the sexual behavior of the hostesses. It was found that 17 percent of them were legally married; 36 percent were single but were serving as part-time mistresses; and 23 percent had been married and, at the time of the survey, were dating nonspecific men regularly. Only 2 percent claimed to be virgin, and 9 percent said they had intercourse with customers occasionally. The remaining 13 percent were so "mysterious" that nothing could be learned of their private lives. Another survey, carried out by a hostess to see how many of her coworkers were indiscriminately promiscuous, revealed: 1) That 6 percent of the girls had had intercourse only with their husband and one lover. 2) That 13 percent had had intercourse with up to five specific men. 3) That 55 percent had had up to ten men. 4) That 22 percent had had over twenty men on a semi prostitute basis. 5) The remaining 4 percent worked as regular prostitutes, and each had had 50 or more men.
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The Japanese press is forever classifying the various entertainment districts as well as individual cabarets. The class of a club depends to a considerable extent upon whether it sells sex or atmosphere. The regular cabarets make no bones about which category they fall into, but they refer to what they sell as "body service." The amount of body service hostesses are instructed, or allowed, to give varies with the place. And the places range from those where the only physical contact between hostess and customer is when they are dancing to those where the girls do everything except permit complete coital penetration in the booths, on the tables, or on the dance floor. The character and quality of the hostess tends to follow suit. The clubs where body contact is secondary are often called saloons rather than cabarets, for, unlike the ordinary cabarets, they do not promote a loud, boisterous, anything-goes atmosphere. Instead, the saloon operators attempt to create a quiet, private- club-like setting in which hostesses and customers sit around talking and laughing in low tones. This quiet, refined air "even has an intimidating effect on drunks who wander into such places. They tend to behave themselves." Hostesses working in saloon-cabarets are usually quite different from those in ordinary cabarets. They tend to be more intelligent, better groomed, refined in manners, and much less susceptible to the overtures of passionate customers. Discussing third-class bars, a noted Japanese gourmet said: "The worst of these are the sort that employs hostesses who greet you by grabbing at your important organ and exclaiming: 'What a man you are!' Then the bolder girls hike up their skirts and insist that you inspect them closely. If you don't, they embarrass you by accusing you of being unmanly." The gourmet added that the businessman who wants to earn points with clients should take company presidents and directors to first-class bars, section and division managers to
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second-class bars, and ordinary staff members to third class bars.
"Spiders" Who Prey on Young Hostesses
UNSCRUPULOUS PLAYBOYS are not the only dangers facing novice hostesses. Newcomers to the world of the mizu shobai are often taken in by veteran hostesses "like butterflies caught in a spider's web." Most of these "spider" hostesses are those whose attractions have faded with age and overuse and who have been relegated to the O-né san or "elder sister" status. As the average hostess grows older and her physical charms diminish, she begins to lose customers to younger, better looking girls. For a while she is able to ride along more or less on the skirt tails of younger girls by allying herself with them and getting a share of their customers. Eventually, however, she reaches the point where very few customers will put up with her, and she "is forced to begin sucking blood from young hostesses." She goes about this by watching for new young hostesses who are attractive and have a lot of potential. She attaches herself to one or more such girls as soon as they appear by sharing her meager tips with them, giving them advice, and acting as their "protector." When customers start flocking around the fresh new girl, the old hostess is always at her side, squeezing money out of her as well as out of her customers. This is the first stage of the "spider's" system. After her relationship with the girl is well established, she very cleverly begins setting the girl up for customers who want to get her into bed. By playing both sides the old hostess profits doubly. This state usually continues until the young girl becomes an experienced, full-fledged member of the mizu shobai and throws the bloodsucker aside. In the old days most of the girls who joined the entertainment trades did so in order to help their families
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and because there was no other occupation open to them. By 1970 this was no longer true. Today it is estimated by mizu shobai operators that no more than 10 percent of the girls who become hostesses do so because of economic pressure. The bulk of them join the gay trades because they have been seduced and then thrown over by a relative, a chance acquaintance, or a lover, or simply because of the promise of excitement and easy money. When interviewed by cabaret operators, these girls invariably give false names, falsify their ages, and claim to have had some experience in the mizu shobai, usually in a bar owned by an "uncle." Says one bar manager: "Most of the girls who join the mizu shobai are only fifteen or sixteen years old, but they are very well developed for their age. Many of them have run away from home and are very often living with boyfriends. Until the late 1950's such girls almost always became the victims of hoodlums who would get them drunk, rape them, and then control their earnings until the girls got wise and escaped. But now these girls don't have to be raped. They give themselves readily to respectable gentlemen who are three to four times their age." Until about 1960 a hostess was not considered fullfledged or professional until she reached the age of twenty-three or twenty-four. Now a hostess that age is considered over the hill. Paradoxically, men used to be considered adolescent until they reached the middle thirties. Now "male adolescence extends into the forties." Older hostesses who still manage to make a living despite competition from younger girls are very critical of "teenagers who sell their virginity so cheaply." These women point out that well-to-do habitués of the gay quarters in prewar Japan used to gladly pay the equivalent of $500 or more for the privilege of de-flowering a young girl, geisha, or budding courtesan—big money at that time. "Now these stupid young girls give themselves away for pocket change and get very indignant when criticized," said an old hostess.
Mistress-Keeping in Japan / 114 How Hostesses "Stimulate" Customers
AT ANY ONE TIME there are always a number of gimmicks for pleasing customers that are popular among hostesses. Two that became popular in the 1960s were known as "match play" and "tug match." The match play was a system used by hostesses to choose a lover for the night when they had been propositioned by several men. If there were five men, for example, a hostess got five empty matchboxes, put a lipstick kiss mark on a slip of paper, and then inserted the paper into one of the boxes. Each of the five men selected a box, and the one whose box contained the kiss-marked paper got the girl that night. This system was popular among customers because it prevented trouble and added a certain thrill to the evening. The second of these popular gimmicks, the tug match, called for the hostess to engage in a tug or wrestling match with a customer in some hotel or inn after working hours. Most older mizu-shobai habitués become jaded after several years of playing four or five nights a week. Hostesses found that stripping naked and engaging in a mock wrestling bout with customers helped to stimulate them. By the 1960s the most popular method of stimulating jaded playboys in several parts of Tokyo was the atereko or erotic film. The production and circulation of erotic films had become big business in Japan. Girls and men who performed the "action" for the cameras were known as atereko-ya, which may be translated loosely as "those who sell erotica." The films were shot silent, and voice actors and actresses later viewed them and dubbed in suitable dialogue and various noises of passion and pleasure. During this period a tsurekomi-yado [t’sue-ray-koe-meyah-doh] (love hotel) and a nearby bar in Tokyo's Asagaya district featured a new twist to an old game—and business thrived. The third time a customer patronized the bar he was shown into the hostesses' dressing room at the hotel, where
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he was directed to a concealed peephole. The hole gave a clear view of an adjoining bedroom where call girls and hostesses from other bars serviced their customers. Viewers are charged for the privilege of watching the action. Another gimmick that seemed certain to gain popularity was the hot-spring "decoy girl." Most of the thousands of inns at Japan's numerous hot-spring resorts offer mixed bathing as a matter of course. But the male guest who goes to the bath for erotic as well as sanitary reasons may find the average bath empty or occupied only by males or by females who are not in the least attractive. To avoid such uninteresting possibilities, a certain spa hotel in the northeastern part of Japan began employing several beautiful young "glamour" girls to take turns lounging around nude in the bath so that no male guest had to bathe without attractive company. At another hot-spring resort playboys delighted in buying large talking dolls dressed in kimono. When squeezed, the dolls said: "Hug me tighter!" or "Let's go to bed now!"
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Calligraphy: Woman + Shining = Prostitute
High and Low Strategy
JUST AS HOSTESSES and geisha are continually advised on how to serve as well as take men, there are many experts who advise men on how to be successful in the floating world. In fact, it is often repeated that in order to be successful in business a man must master the techniques for making out in the mizu shobai. One authority compares this latter ability to playing golf. His first rule is: "Don't attempt to show off or overextend yourself." Then he poses this situation: "If you go into a cabaret and meet a woman whom you judge to be 60 percent possible, ask her in a positive, friendly way what her name is. Then pay her a compliment of some kind. After that, ignore her for a while and talk about business or personal affairs with your drinking companions. ―One of the best possible subjects is your children, if you have any, and how you recently bought a pet for them. Then you turn to the girl and ask her if she likes puppies or some other type of lovable pet. Every woman longs to have a
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family and a happy home life, and this will make her feel warmhearted toward you. "If you begin by telling her that you and your wife don't get along, she will think less of you, and your efforts will likely be wasted. "Now, the next time you meet this girl, you tell her you named the new dog after her because you couldn't forget her. She may pretend to be angry at having a dog named after her, but at the same time she will be impressed by your sincerity. Then in a pleasant manner you should tell her it is necessary for you to pay her a 'name fee' for having used her name. ―After you drink a little more, you should leave, telling her you will be back soon. When she accompanies you to the door to see you off, you should suddenly apologize for being forgetful and then give her a sum of money, saying it is for the 'name fee' mentioned earlier. As soon as you are gone, she will go to the toilet to look at the money you gave her and to put it away. She will not expect it to be very much and will be very pleasantly surprised to find out how much it is. "Now comes the most crucial time, because a wrong move could destroy the image you have built up. You should do something else to indicate you are a warmhearted family man—like buying a toy for your son (or any wrapped gift that you can say is a toy) and taking it with you to the cabaret as if you were just on the way home. By this time she will more than likely feel very friendly toward such a 'nice papa' and consider herself quite honored to accommodate you." Japanese experts point out that without spending money one has very little chance of being regularly successful in the mizu shobai. Most Americans in Japan are apparently not aware of this basic requirement or else disapprove of it. The majority of them try to make out much as they do at home in the United States. Many feel they should be able to score one success after another without spending any extra money at all.
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They assume either that the girls are being adequately reimbursed from other sources and are not really so low as to be commercial about their favors, or that the girls should feel that the foreigner's good looks and personality are more than enough compensation. Most American men, of course, have had little if any experience in buying commercial sex, and the idea is both slightly repugnant and foolish to some of them. Men who want to be accepted in Japan's pleasure world are warned time and again about showing off. Mizu-shobai girls are extremely sensitive to any sign of superiority. They also dislike men who are always serious about everything. A man is more likely to be popular with the girls if he is always lighthearted and likes to joke. As mentioned earlier, the men who are the most popular in Japan's floating world are the president-owners of small subcontract companies. These men can spend several thousand dollars a month on pleasure without referring to anyone. They think nothing of handing a large sum of money to a girl who catches their fancy. But whether the regular mizu shobai-goer has a lot of money or only a little, every playboy type has his favorite technique for seducing hostesses. There is one type who likes to compare hostesses to slot machines. He goes to a cabaret early in the evening when there are only a few customers and most of the girls are not busy. This gives him an opportunity to inspect all of the girls. To do this, he moves around constantly between his seat, the dance floor, and the toilet. Each time he passes a hostess he slips a small amount of money down between her breasts. The word quickly passes around among all the hostesses, so none of them will dodge him or turn away when he approaches. All this time the man has his eye on a certain girl whose name he has learned from a waiter. When he finally approaches her, she cooperates playfully. But when she pulls the money from her bodice, she finds it is a large
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denomination bill. There will be a note attached to the bill, telling her the man wants to be her friend, asking for a date, and suggesting she have a new dress made at his expense at a certain shop. While the men who practice techniques of this sort are often labeled as fools, they are said to be successful in about 80 percent of their seduction attempts. Another type of cabaret patron specializes in capitalizing on the outright avarice of hostesses. Displaying a large sum of money, he begins more or less teasing different girls, asking them if there isn't one who would like to "fulfill his sweet dream" later that night. While he is talking, he keeps large-denomination bills prominently displayed in his hands. Before long, one of the hostesses agrees to meet him when the cabaret closes. The next morning instead of paying the girl the large sum of money he kept flashing the man gives her a small amount, saying that he never promised her any more—besides, that is all he has left. The girl com- plains but has no recourse except to avoid the man in the future. Cabaret operators say some hostesses make love to such men in the cabaret toilets and are afraid to make a scene about the money because of the position they have put themselves in. The experienced playboy has still another gimmick of this sort that he uses on hostesses. He tears a large denomination bill in half, gives one piece to a girl, and tells her she can have the rest of it if she will meet him later that night at a certain restaurant. Many mizu-shobai patrons who are heavy drinkers habitually use force to get the hostesses they want. One of their favorite tricks is to snatch a girl's purse, wrist watch, or other valuable and refuse to return it unless the girl accompanies them to an inn. Unless the girl happens to have a boy friend who is also a hoodlum, there is no one to take her part, and she has to get by the best she can. It is now popular to invite cabaret hostesses to a night club catering to a mixed international clientele, but this is one of the least successful seduction techniques, and it can
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be very costly to the playboy.
Advice from the Experts
EXPERTS ADVISE that the best technique for getting close to a fresh hostess is to work through a second hostess, preferably one who has passed her prime and lives by her wits. By patronizing the old hostess the customer wins her to his side and makes it obligatory for her to help him. In many cases she is able to induce the younger girl to comply with the customer's wishes. The end of the year is a favorite time in Japan because it means bonuses and long holidays. The mizu shobai goes all out to get its share of this extra money, and the popular press is full of tips telling playboys how to get the most out of their expenditures. A typical advice-to-the-playboy article begins by telling him how to get the most mileage out of tips. First of all, the experts say, the smart playboy will not tip the female attendants posted in men's toilets at bars and cabarets, "even though they have a bamboo money basket out and watch the patrons closely while they are in the toilet." Instead, the playboy is advised to tip his waiter a substantial amount in advance. (It is often said that tipping is neither popular nor widespread in Japan, but this is erroneous. The Japanese probably invented tipping, and over the centuries they have developed it to a fine art. Instead of tipping after they finish eating or drinking or putting up at an inn, the Japanese very wisely tip in advance. Thus the generous tipper is assured that he will get the extra service he pays for. A host who is going to entertain business associates or clients at a Japanese-style restaurant, for example, will make the arrangements two or three days before hand, making certain that a liberal tip is put into the hands of every employee of the restaurant who may have any contact with his party. Viewed dispassionately, this system is very sensible. By comparison the European and American system is
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quite stupid. To get back to our playboy, not only will a tip to a customer's waiter result in less water in the drinks, but the waiter will also be favorably disposed toward selecting for the playboy the type of hostess who will be most likely to please him. If the playboy wants to date the girl later, he should ask the waiter to put in a good word for him. The playboy should remember the waiter's name, ask for him each time he patronizes the same cabaret or bar, and each time tip him well—in advance. By the third or fourth visit the waiter will be eager to use all his influence in the customer's behalf. At the same time, the experts warn, it is silly to tip a hostess at a first-class place only a small amount, because many of them earn thousands of dollars a more a month and such a negligible sum is insulting. "In order to make a favorable impression and attract a hostess in a top club, one must tip an impressive amount after a visit of an hour or so," the experts add. A recent issue of the men's weekly Heibon Panchi (Average Punch) summed up how money should be used in the mizu shobai in these terms: effectiveness, economy, and simplicity. In order to be certain that his money is spent most effectively, the customer is advised to patronize places where he can get the most for it on such days as Monday and Tuesday, when the big spenders are most apt to take the night off. For the sake of economy the article further advises that one should not go to an expensive club when he can get the same service at a less expensive one. Under the heading of simplicity the playboy is warned to stay away from places where the atmosphere is formal and one is expected to behave himself. He is also advised to keep all relationships with hostesses on a simple plane to avoid emotional or financial entanglements. The magazine article adds that if one wants to put these lessons into practice and be a successful "night gentleman"
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it is important for him to take a bath before going out. If one happens to be in a downtown central area, it is suggested that he shave and bathe at a Turkish bath. The magazine continues: "One can also get his trousers pressed at a nearby laundry in just a few minutes. Next, one should use good sense in picking a place to go. There are many bars operated by gangsters who make a practice of overcharging or robbing customers outright. Then, first-class bars do not want casual customers and systematically overcharge them so they won't come back. "Since it is difficult if not impossible to determine how a place operates just from its appearance, one should always investigate before patronizing it. If one has no friends who know the place, he should ask the flower girls who work the streets in the area. If two girls recommend the same bar, one can be reasonably certain it is safe. The playboy who likes to visit a large number of places casually should patronize only second-class bars and cabarets. He will at least be welcome in such places. It is also advisable for the regular mizu-shobai patron to ask for the same hostess each time because this increases the girl's daily earnings, and she will show her gratitude. Also, it is always best to tell your hostess how much you want to spend. She will then make sure you bill does not go over that amount." Playboy types are also advised on how to take advantage of economic adversity. A weekly magazine suggests that they patronize places where the hostesses no longer get a daily guarantee. Girls who work in such places depend entirely on rebates and tips. On slack days and particularly during business recessions these girls are much more likely to exchange their favors for a fee and a free meal or two, the magazine points out. As a result of the no-holds-barred atmosphere of the cabarets, hostesses have to be more unscrupulous and callous than were the girls who used to staff the legal red-light districts.
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Before the Anti prostitution Law put the red lights out, the girls who worked in the districts were among the most refined in manners, dress, and attitude that one could hope to find. And this new situation has tremendously complicated the sex life of the average Japanese man. Until the latter part of the 1950's any man who wanted a woman of almost any type or class could get one by the simple process of paying a standard fee. Now he must compete for her favors financially, as well as exercise considerable tact and talent to make her favorably disposed toward him. So far only the wealthy professional playboy has been able to develop techniques successful enough to keep his ego and batting average high. Professionals in the business say most young men have to resort to promising to divorce their legal wives in order to seduce hostesses into becoming their ni-go. Middle- aged men, however, are more prone to use a straightforward unemotional approach. A typical ploy goes like this: "I don't want you to be my mistress, but if you need money I will give it to you any time. If you later meet a young man you want, I will be the first one to congratulate you. All I ask of you is that we be good friends." Added an authority: "This, in fact, is the best type of approach. Almost any lonely hostess who hears this type of proposal is ready to wag her tail. It is fine as long as she doesn't take the liaison seriously." To summarize the most successful playboy techniques in the floating world, one expert said: "You must be very careful not to overstay your welcome. It is usually best to leave a particular place within an hour. A second advantage of this is that you save money. While in a bar, cabaret, or night club, you should try to make yourself conspicuous but without offending anyone. If most of the customers around you are salary men, you should say you are engaged in some profession, like painting. If there is a hostess you like, you should not be so obvious about it. It is much better to be respectful and attentive to the bar madam and to tell her you
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patronize her place because you are fascinated by such and such a hostess. "Later, when there is an opportunity, you should confess to the madam that you have already fallen for the hostess. Then you can expect your relationship with the madam to pay off. Shortly before the bar closes, she will usually suggest to the hostess that she should treat you at some restaurant. This way your desire will be fulfilled. But if you approach the girl directly and try to date her, your efforts will usually fail." Said another expert: "To find out how a hostess is going to react to your advances you should touch her lightly on the back of her neck as if by accident. If your touch causes her to jump or move quickly, it shows that her sexuality is well developed and that she regards you favorably." This neck-touching technique is not as easy to accomplish as one might believe, especially if you have been drinking. Well-known writer Junnosuke Yoshiyuki said: "At least three years of experience is required before one can touch a girl's neck and get the right reaction. It takes eight years' practice to touch a girl's hips and get the same reaction. To really master both techniques takes up to twenty years." Another mizu-shobai authority asserts: "When you want to make a date with a hostess, you may as well speak out frankly. There is no point in wasting hours and a lot of money trying to seduce her while she is working. In the first place the girls always have their guard up while they are on duty, and there are few opportunities to approach them discreetly and properly. It is much more effective to catch them off duty." Still another expert added to this: "The best place to approach a hostess, if you have a nice personality and are clever with words, is at the restaurant where she eats. Most hostesses have one or more favorite eating places, and they congregate there every afternoon before work and every night after they get off. For example, the favorite noodle
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shops of Ginza hostesses include Miyagino, Taiko, Ishingo, Yabu, and Yoshidaya." After he has picked up a girl, the playboy is expected to know the bars and restaurants that are currently "in." These places must meet the following conditions: stay open until well after midnight; be inexpensive; have a congenial, "family type" atmosphere; and cater to men in the process of seducing their dates. In Tokyo there are literally hundreds of such places, particularly in the Ginza, Roppongi and Shinjuku areas. Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, and other cities throughout Japan have similar areas. Sums up a final authority: "While it is important to be up on this sort of thing, the success or failure of a mizu-shobai habitué is mostly determined by whether or not he has plenty of money and by whether or not he gets well acquainted with madams and waiters in small bars who will then help make the necessary contact with the girls of his choice. A friendly bartender, for example, can be counted on to slip vodka into a hostess's drink, thereby rendering her more pliable." * _______________________________________________
*It is a rather strange phenomenon of Japan and the mizu shobai that the leading experts in the field have traditionally been professors at ranking universities. There is obviously something to be deduced from this, but I haven't gotten around to doing it yet.
The Lay of the Land
A CABARET-GOER can usually tell how long a girl has been a hostess and how much experience she has had by how she reacts to talk about sex and the sexual organs. The new, inexperienced girl will generally show some genuine embarrassment and ignorance about the subject and may get angry or even cry. The girl who has been in the business for
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a few months usually finds such talk interesting and exciting. The older, experienced girls have heard it so often that if they react at all it is to show boredom. Most professional playboys specialize in this kind of talk as a regular line, using the approach to seduce girls who have been in the mizu shobai only a short time and are still excited by loose, ribald conversation. This technique is used at some time or other by most cabaret-goers, but it is the favorite technique of older men. The amateur playboy is warned that the technique has been over-used and may backfire if he is not really clever. Explained a veteran hostess: "A hostess is very likely to be repelled by dirty talk if it is just before or just after her period, or if she has just been cast off by a man whom she liked. During these times hostesses are much more susceptible to a gentle, understanding approach." The run-of-the-mill cabaret customer, as distinguished from the affluent professional playboy, may make a halfhearted effort to seduce a hostess the first night he meets her. But unless the girl is strictly a prostitute, he does not expect the first effort to be successful. In many cases he would actually be disappointed if it was. The good cabaret customer earns the favor of a hostess by patronizing her club regularly for months and years—and the average man wants to be known as a good customer. On the other hand, club managers say the typical arusaro customer expects to make out with a hostess after only a few visits. One manager kept track of the number of times his customers patronized certain girls in an effort to seduce them. He said the average was four visits. If they were not successful after the fourth visit, they transferred their attentions to other girls. It is noted that the primary reason for the easier accessibility of arusaro hostesses is that they make considerably less in salary and tips than cabaret girls. New girls who have not had time to build up a following are also said to be more susceptible than established host-
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esses. One popular weekly magazine suggests that customers wanting to seduce hostesses should aim at girls around twenty-three years old. According to the publication, girls this age generally realize they have to offer something extra in order to compete with older and more experienced hostesses. The customer is also advised to try to find out where a particular hostess lives before he gets serious about her. The magazine points out that some of the girls live with their relatives or families and cannot stay out overnight without causing complications. The ideal situation, says the magazine, is when a girl lives in an apartment where she is allowed to entertain company and is being frugal to the point where she wants to save the customer the price of an inn room in order to get more from him. A cabaret manager in Ikebukuro—once considered the lowest-ranking of Tokyo's large entertainment districts— believes that girls who work as hostesses do so for one reason only: because they want to be seduced. His point is that "since men patronize cabarets for the purpose of seduction, it follows that any girl who becomes a hostess is demonstrating her willingness to cooperate." To him a bar or a cabaret is nothing more than "a place where women are seduced by men." On the premise that a cabaret is a place of seduction this man asserts that it is much too expensive under the present system of plying a girl with drinks and monetary gifts. He says the cabaret patron should waste neither time nor money—he should attempt to seduce whichever girl he likes without delay. But no matter how fast a man operates, this man believes that hostesses are still too expensive. He recommends that playboys patronize the taishu bars, which do not employ hostesses and cater to both men and women. "Single girls and women patronize these bars for the specific purpose of being picked up," he said. "It is not unusual to see gentlemen of the company-executive type there looking them over."
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A veteran cabaret manager observes that any man who believes it is easier to seduce an unmarried hostess than a married one reveals himself as an amateur playboy. Says he: "Not only is it easier to seduce a married hostess but also the fact that she is married prevents her from causing you any trouble afterward." He explains that most married hostesses, whether they have a legal husband or are living in a common-law relationship with a lover who is not paying his own way, are supporting their men and have a very unhappy private life. "They are therefore inclined to be more receptive to the overtures of a generous, sympathetic customer," he says. "Lovemaking to them is very casual—a welcome distraction from the gloomy reality of their everyday life." The same man also advises the patron to make sure he knows the system by which the hostesses in a particular club are paid before he attempts to make out with a girl there. Some hostesses are paid by the month; some receive commissions on what their customers drink, plus a small daily guarantee; still others get paid on the basis of what they themselves drink at the expense of the customer. If a customer goes to a place operating under the last of these systems and refuses to buy drinks for his hostess, he can hardly expect her to be very cooperative. The veteran also warns men to stay away from places where they have to be concerned about being unreasonably overcharged. It should be noted, however, that being slightly overcharged and not making a fuss about it is good public relations.
Latest Wrinkle in Japan's Mizu Shobai
BY THE 1970s, Japan's flourishing entertainment industry were beginning to attract young foreign women from a number of countries, particularly the Philippines and Taiwan. At first, these young women, most of whom arrived in Japan as tourists and overstayed their visas, were rarities, and were popular with Japanese men who had a thing about
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having foreign women. By the 1980s this trickle of foreign women into Japan's mizu shobai had become a flood. These newcomers includeed women from Thailand and China, most of who were smuggled into the country by yakuza gangs working with their counterparts in these countries. In many of Japan's leading entertainment districts today, especially in Tokyo, a significant percentage of the hostesses are foreign, and include young Caucasian women from Australia, the U.S. and various European countries. Many of these women are available for "extra-curricular activities," some of them become mistresses, and some of the Asian women marry Japanese men. POSTSCRIPT GIVEN THE PREVALENCE of mistress-keeping in Japan and the fact that it has been common since ancient times, the courts have often been called upon to take a stand on the practice. At present there is no specific law covering mistress-keeping, but some lawyers feel that the postwar Anti Prostitution Law (which went into effect in 1956) can be applied to cases involving mistresses. In a popular book called Aijo Saiban—which translates into English with an apt double meaning as ―Lovers’ Court‖ as well as "Trials of Love"—a lawyer relates a number of typical cases and gives an interpretation of the legal position of mistresses based on precedents set by the Supreme Court of Japan. He quotes the court as saying that the general concept of mistresses is not clear, although it may be assumed that, unlike a legal wife, the mekake or ni-go engages in sexual relations with a married man for economic assistance. The Supreme Court goes on to say that "the practice of keeping mistresses in Japan has long been closely connected with the family system. Historically, mistresses were legally regarded as relatives of the second degree. A civil
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decree enacted in 1898 deprived mistresses of this legal recognition. But mistress-keeping in Japan persists, and with the passage of time men have taken to keeping mistresses solely for sexual pleasure rather than for any prestige involved. As a result, the quality of women serving as mistresses has deteriorated remarkably. At present the variety ranges from mekake who are just like lawful wives to those who are no different from prostitutes. The law originally stated that sexual acts between ni-go and men which were a business proposition motivated solely by sex were to be considered acts of prostitution. We agree with the original decision. But it seems excessive to consider all mekake as prostitutes merely because they engage in sex with one man. The law was not meant to be applied so widely. Even when a mistress engages in sex for money, the act should not be considered illegal, provided it is between her and a specific man (not a chance stranger) and is not antisocial in nature." Basing his opinion on this line of reasoning, the lawyer author of Trials of Love surmises that whether or not an act may be regarded as prostitution depends upon how the girl feels about her male partner. "She may love two or even more men and regard them as her 'husbands,' which should prevent her from being labeled a prostitute. But in most cases it does not happen this way," he said. Notwithstanding the attitude of the Supreme Court toward mistresses, they have no legal standing in Japan today. Verbal or written contracts between ni-go and their patrons are not legally binding. It is more or less understood that a mistress has her paramour at a disadvantage as long as their affairs do not come before the courts. When the law does become involved, her position is reversed, and she is generally the loser if the man isn't willing to divorce his wife and marry her. For this reason most mistresses try to squeeze as much as possible out of their keepers as quickly as possible. When
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mistress-keeping contracts are broken, as happens regularly, it is usually the man who wants to withdraw from the relationship. Because of this it has become traditional for the man to pay his mistress a sum of consolation money when he decides to drop her. The amount of money paid as consolation is more or less determined by the ability of the man to pay. The consolation money is not a token payment. A working man may be asked to pay the equivalent of a year's salary. Most men in this category have to go into debt to pay off such obligations. Interestingly enough, the lawyer-author of Trials of Love disapproves of men paying consolation money to rid themselves of unwanted mistresses. He takes the position that since men do not ask for money when the women initiate the breakup, men should not feel obligated to pay their mistresses a separation fee under any circumstances. He believes that most men pay because they are "too good-natured." The amount of the separation fee is always a pro- blem, and interested parties (mostly male writers who specialize in mizu shobai topics) have tried to work out a scale appropriate for the purpose. According to this scale, a mistress who is from the floating world (a hostess, waitress, or bathhouse girl) should receive three times whatever her monthly fee has been. If she is an office worker or a student, "twice the fee will be enough." Of course, add the arbitrators, she should also be left whatever furniture or gifts may have been given her. Then, in an aside, the writers suggest that if the mistress happens to be the type who is not bought off so easily the patron should invite her on a trip to a hot-spring resort to show her his heart is in the right place. About thirty percent of the cases handled by the Tokyo District Family Court involve infidelity of the husbands, while about eight percent concerned infidelity of wives. Among husbands charged with infidelity, sixty-five percent
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were keeping mistresses. Approximately half of the men, particularly those who had been keeping the same mistress for a long time, were instructed by the court to divorce their wives. A weekly magazine that specializes in reporting on the changing world of mistresses and mistress-keepers quoted the public relations department of the court as saying: "In the infidelity of husbands we always consider that there are two types of men, those who keep company with specific women (mistresses) and those who frequent nonspecific women (street girls, etc.). The former are mostly men of strong character with a tremendous appetite for life. The latter are weak-willed men who try to vent their fears and resentments on women in an even weaker position. Men who change women frequently may appear to be strongly sexed, but most of them actually fall into the weak-minded category." Some five percent of the cases coming before the Family Court involve the dissolution of mistress con- tracts. In such cases the court tends to find in favor of the men, especially if their mistresses have already succeeded in getting a substantial amount of money out of them and are demanding more. The Court looks upon this as a type of extortion but cannot prosecute such women because this sort of activity is outside the scope of the law. In the event that there are children, the Court usually gives the father a choice of paying for their support or taking them into his own home. But since the average mistresskeeper prefers to settle out of court, he is often willing to pay more for his freedom than he can actually afford. He usually turns to the courts only as a last resort. To the foreigner in Japan the law can often be baffling. It appears to be full of contradictions and inexplicable mysteries. For example, one may be sentenced to thirty years' hard labor for robbing a taxi driver of a dollar and get off with two or three years or a suspended sentence for murder. There are numerous mitigating circumstances for murder in
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Japan, but few for robbery. A wife who kills a philandering husband is punished only lightly if at all. A man may kill an unfaithful mistress and receive the same lenient treatment. The Japanese tend to consider homicide accidental if it is committed when one is drunk, angry, distraught, excited by passion, or seriously depressed. Murders involving lovers, mistresses, husbands, and wives are therefore quite common. Certainly mistress-keeping in Japan has its perils as well as its pleasures. Involvement with the law, however, can hardly be counted as one of the major perils—at least as long as mistresses, patrons, and wives refrain from doing one another in. And even if they do not refrain, the risk may be relatively small in comparison with other crimes. The law cannot be accused of taking an unrealistic view of such a time-honored practice as that of mistress- keeping. Most important of all, the unabated popularity of the practice more than adequately demonstrates that the pleasures outweigh the perils. —OWARI—
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