Keisei Eisen 渓斎英泉 (1790–1848)
Tales of Sexual Conquest and the Violet of Edo
(Iro jiman edo murasaki), vol. 1 of 3

Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1836
Woodblock-printed book; ink and color on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

This annotated map by Keisei Eisen (1790–1848) is essentially a collection of euphemisms for brothel districts. Some terms, such as Irozato (“Color Village”) have in fact become official synonyms for “brothel district,” while others such as Hiyokuzuka (“Fertility Mound”) and Ukareyama (“Mount Merriness”) are far more fanciful. The bodies of water bordering the landscape, including Chikuragaoki in the distance, which corresponds to the modern-day Sea of Japan, implies that this image is an abbreviated map of the entire archipelago and that the nation is dominated by the sex industry from coast to coast.

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