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!
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!
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 http://ukiyo-e.org/. Both prints are by Hishikawa Moronobu.
Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, now out for the first time in paperback!