Okumura Masanobu 奥村政信 (1686-1764)
Figures at the Yoshiwara
From the series Visiting the Yoshiwara
(Yoshiwara Kayoi 吉原かよひ)

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), c. 1670
Woodblock print; ink on paper
Gift of James A. Michener, 1991

Two samurai wakashū saunter through the main gate of the Yoshiwara. In front of them stands a high-ranking courtesan (probably a tayū) followed by her apprentice (kamuro) and her chaperone (yarite). In the distance, an adult male visitor peeks nervously at the wakashū from beneath a bamboo reed curtain. Samurai were discouraged from visiting the Yoshiwara for fear that consorting with courtesans might weaken their spirits. They often visited regardless, disguising themselves beneath sedge hats.

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