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History of Prostitution in Japan: The Kamakura Period Part One

Men's Cyzo - Original Japanese Date: February 24th, 2015
English Translation Published: June 8th, 2015

The Heian period ended with strife but in its place fostered a new era of Japanese history known as the Kamakura period where prostitution was first regulated.

This article is a continuation of a previous entry that covered Japan and the sale of sex through the Heian period.

Welcome to the second part of our History of Prostitution series on Men's Cyzo where we covered the miko and their ability to channel the divine through sexual congress.  From there, services spread to the areas neighboring famous temples in one of the earliest examples of a red light district.

However, the divine connection of the miko seemed to wane as the Heian period ran its course.  This may have been attributed to the introduction and subsequent rise of the samurai class.  As some of you familiar with Japanese history may know, the rise in the power of military families such as the Minamoto and the Taira led to the conclusion of the Heian period which segued into the Kamakura period.

The shogunate at this time constructed an expansive road network connecting population centers together.  On these roads frequently were inns and brothels as well where visitors could rent tatami rooms for resting and 'companionship'.  This road network and its need for lodging dramatically increased the number of women working in the industry.  Performances such as what modern day Geisha are known for was still very important at this time, but the spiritual connection that the miko offered was thrown to the wayside.

Your average brothel at the time had around 40 prostitutes on staff.  It was quite similar to how fashion health establishments operate today in spite of being almost a thousand years old.


To be concluded...


Written by Miyuki Nakagawara


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(Translator's note:  apologies about the slightly short length of today's update.  Splitting the article any other way would result in a very lopsided update.  We will soon find out the bizarre yet feasible connection Japanese puppeteers of old had with the spread of prostitution and how this led to miko being removed from the erotic limelight.)

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