Thursday, July 19, 2007


Oiran was the name of a prostitute of the highest level. The name Oiran was used by only the highest ranking prostitutes. They learned to perform tea ceremonies, to play the “shamisen”, and write poetry. They were also skilled at “ Igo”, a type of Japanese Chess.
There were rules for spending a night with an Oiran. Just for the privilege of getting to know her came at a high price. This money was paid to the “Ochaya” which hired out Geishas.
Whenever customers met with an Oiran, they had to sit at her feet while she sat on an elevated platform. This was a sign of her higher rank over them.
When first meeting with Oiran, the customer sat at a far distance from the Oiran. No conversation, food, or drink was to be had. The customer was being scrutinized during this time. If he was judged worthy, he would be allowed another meeting. It was important for the customer to show their wealth. They did this by hiring numerous Geishas to impress the Oiran.
At the second meeting, the Oiran inched just a little closer to the customer. Still no interaction at this time.
Before the third meeting, a bowl and chopsticks were prepared with the customer’s name on them.
Finally, at the third meeting the customer was allowed to be intimate with Oiran. This privilege though cost an enormous amount of money.
After being intimate with his Oiran, he was not permitted to sleep with any other Oirans. If he tried, it would be reported back to his original Oiran.
On the occasion that the customer came on the same day as another customer, he was not allowed to sleep with her. He did though stay the night with an Oiran in training, though intimacy was not allowed. The usual high fee of sleeping with the Oiran was still charged.

Carol Hasegawa made this doll. She was my former student. She visited me and made this doll. She is a teacher in Hawaii and also goes to graduate school.

If you would like to see more pictures. please click,


suri-chan said...

Chisako-sensei,my name is Dewi Indonesia kara kimashita.Douzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu! I learn about japanese bunka from my university. i am very interested about your w ashi doll. i havent found place to learn about it here. your doll is so beautiful, beacuse one of my interest is handycraft and making doll, but from felt.
I wish if i could go to japan, i can learn about it from you.

Chisako said...

Hi, Suri

Thank you. I hope that you can come to Japan and come to my class someday!!