Sleeping Bags Of Yore


At first I thought this was some kind of wacky winter kimono from prehistoric, pre-Patagonia days, but no: it’s actually a futon built for two! This fancy sleeping bag was actually used by courtesans when they entertained their customers in Yoshiwara!

The Sleeping Bag Of Yore in action!

The Sleeping Bag Of Yore in action!

Back in the day, plenty of men wealthy enough to buy opulent mummy bags for their paramours frequented the pleasure quarters, even though it was illegal for a samurai to pass the gates. Naturally, this didn’t stop anyone, they just wore special hats designed to cover their faces so they wouldn’t be recognized. The old joke goes that if there was a fire at the bathhouse, the customers would run outside hiding their faces, not their dangly bits!

The clever hat disguise hid failed to hide a samurai's swords and pants-less attendant.

The clever hat disguise did not quite manage to hide a samurai’s swords and pants-challenged attendant.

And if you think visiting a host club is expensive, think again: a night of eating, drinking and making merry with the Yoshiwara beauty of your dreams could set you back over $10,000 in today’s coin!

I actually saw this awesome exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco – it’s called Seduction, and is on through May 10, 2015. The bottom woodblock print photo thanks to Both prints are by Hishikawa Moronobu.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

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