Nishikawa Sukenobu 西川祐信 (1671-1750)
Appreciating One Hundred Women
(Hyakunin jorō shina-sadame 百人女郎品定 上ノ巻 下ノ巻), vol. 2

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), 1723
Woodblock-printed book; ink on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003
(TD 2012-03-099)

Essentially expanding upon the topic presented in Elementary Learning for Women (Onna shōgaku), a primer for young women displayed elsewhere in this exhibition, this two-volume text by Sukenobu lists as accurately as possible the various social roles available to women in Edo society, from the most prestigious (Empress) to street prostitutes.

Displayed here on the final two pages of the second volume are, on the right, two women operating an all-night outdoor tea stand (a front for prostitution), and, on the left, two variations on the role of street prostitute — a sōka (literally, a “rental bride”) from Kyoto (dressed in black) and a yotaka (literally, a “night hawk”) from Edo.

View this book in its entirety on museum database (enabled through support by the Robert F. Lange Foundation)