Little Details

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Entries by tag: japan (misc)

Brothels in 1300s Japan

The question I'm trying to figure out is this: What were brothels like during the 1300s in Japan? Things like how might they have been run, was there any sort of system like there was later, what might the prospects have been for the women there (miserable, I'm sure)? I know that they didn't really exist until the Kamakura period, and what they were like from the 1600s on.

My story is a historical fiction, set in Japan. A major part of Part I of the book takes place in a brothel in/around Kyoto, from roughly 1288-1373 CE. The main character is a prostitute. I have a good idea of what prostitution was like in the periods preceding and following this, but the histories I've managed to find leave the Muromachi period a big white blank.

Most of my current portrayal of the character's situation and the brothel has come from inferring backwards, taking the information available for the later periods and projecting back to what that might have come from. I'm personally not satisfied with doing that for a whole section of the book.

I've read all the posts under the "Prostitution" and "Japan - History" tags here on Little-Details to try and glean an answer. Some were very helpful, but I was hoping someone might have even speculation or a resource that I don't.

I've been researching, or trying to research brothels in this time period in Japan for upwards of two years, and have come up largely empty. I've all but stopped perusing the internet, out of frustration and a consistent lack of results, and turned to university libraries, journals, and databases.

The works I own and/or have referenced extensively trying to answer this question are:

A Handbook to Daily Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan
Selling Songs And Smiles: The Sex Trade in Heian and Kamakura Japan
The Nightless City
Women of the Pleasure Quarters
The Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work
Pinning Down the Floating World
Selling Women
Shadows of Transgression - Heian and Kamakura Constructions of Prostitution (dissertation)
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not - Shinju and Shikido Okagami
Fertility and Pleasure: Ritual and Sexual Values in Tokugawa Japan
Tsumi - Offence and Retribution in Early Japan
Writing Margins: The Textual Construction of Gender in Heian and Kamakura Japan
A number of books on prostitutes as a whole, and a number of books on Kamakura and Muromachi politics and history.

I'm currently trying to find a copy of Flowers in Salt on a recommendation.

Any theories, speculation, information, books - whatever - anyone has would be of great help to me.

Thank you very much for your time.


Minors Living Abroad With Family
Setting: Osaka, Japan
Time: Present (July of 2013 to be exact)

I'm in the beginning stages of a story about a young Japanese-American girl (she's 14) who is forced to move from her home in San Diego to her grandmother's home in Japan after the death of her mother. Her father has dual citizenship between the US and Japan (and travels between the two frequently for work, among other places like London and Beijing which is why he wants her to move into her grandmother's since he is rarely home long enough to care for her). The girl doesn't have dual citizenship but she does have a passport.

My question is, can she legally live with her grandmother in Japan if she is not an official citizen of the country? Her stay would be for at least five or six years. Would this effect her US citizenship? What about working in Japan? Her grandmother runs a small family-owned business so would it be legal for her to work for her?

I Google'd "Minors Moving to Japan", "Minors living abroad in Japan", and "Japanese-Americans moving to Japan", but all I found were guides for Non-Japanese moving to Japan, minors moving to Japan to study abroad or cultural exchange, and questions about families moving abroad which doesn't apply since the child remains with their parent(s).

Japanese saying
I've pulled up several sites with lists of Japanese saying/proverbs and their English equivalent but I can't find the one I want.

Does anyone know if Japan has an equivalent to "Cut from the same bolt of cloth" as in two different people who are very similar in behaviors and tastes.

Thank you!

may-december marriage in japan
→ hiroomi
I have a couple in one of my stories who are in a May-December relationship. The setting, once again, is modern-day Japan. The girl is 18 and the man is 39, and they met when she was 15 and he was 36 via the somewhat questionable Japanese practice of compensated dating. The man is not married and has never been married before. Supposing the relationship were to become serious and they were to come out to their families once she became legal, what sorts of attitudes might they encounter? (The national age of consent is 13, but let's assume this is Tokyo where the law that sets the legal age at 18.) Let's also assume that they present the relationship as one that's headed toward marriage once she graduates from college, and don't tell anyone how or when they met.

I looked up "large age difference relationships in Japan" and "May-December marriage Japan" and found some foreigner forums that state it's okay given the general climate of sexual weirdness. But I'm not sure how much the foreigner community reflects attitudes among actual Japanese people. Japan Times also had a relatively uninformative article about how such marriages tend to be about wealth and status, while from Wikipedia I've gleaned that men who are not married past age 30 tend to be thought of as untrustworthy or irresponsible. But assuming the man is otherwise upstanding and on approximately equal financial footing with the girl's family (so it would make sense to call her a gold-digger), how up-in-arms are the families likely to be?

Search for a missing person in Japan, mid-late 90s
How long would someone generally need to be missing before the police would file a report? Or does that vary between prefectures? Also, what - other than the name and description of the missing person - would go into the report? I tried Google, but all I got were US police pages, and some action movies, believe it or not.

Can you guys help me out?

Search terms used: Japanese police procedures, missing persons, late 90s

Family Reunions in Japan
I'm working on a fic and one of the plot points is that the main character is going to be attending a family reunion. He is a teenager, attending with his parents.

My main question is, other than family reunions of the kind that occurs between close relatives on New Year's or Obon, do the Japanese have family reunions where large number of close as well as distant relatives gather? If so, is there a traditional way they do this? I know this happens occasionally for weddings and funerals, but what about anything else?

I've searched "traditional family reunions" as well as "Japanese family reunions" and come up with nothing. Tips for searching and would be helpful also.

Rebuilding a house in Japan; mid-late 90s
Would it be something out of the ordinary for a house to be rebuilt on the site of one that had burned down, particularly if people had died in the fire? Would it be more or less likely to happen if the son of the people who'd died in the fire was still alive?

I didn't manage to find anything but pages about Japanese superstitions in general when I searched.

Search terms used: Japanese superstitions, house fire

Adoption in Japan
→ hiroomi
Hey, everyone!
The last time I posted here, the advice I got was super helpful, so I'm back.

I've been researching adoption in Japan, as I've been writing a separated at birth fic. Yes, it's a common trope, but so far I haven't seen many stories in my fandom that set it up in a realistic -- or at least a decently researched -- way, so I've decided to do what I can to change that. The specific fandom doesn't matter -- it only matters that the setting is modern-day Japan.

I've already looked up "Japan family law" and "adoption of minors in Japan," and I've gotten a sense of the attitudes towards adoptions, as well as some the legal issues. For instance, I know adoption is not looked upon too kindly, that the system is fragmented and certain agencies are not reputable, and that kids often stay in institutions for a very long time. The last is true because the official position is that if the biological parents are alive, every effort should be made for kids to eventually return to them (even if it's at the age of 18). I also know there are "regular" and "special" adoptions; in the former, the ties between child and biological parent are not legally severed. In some "special" adoptions, the couple looking to adopt pays the medical expenses of the woman who's about to give birth and give her child up.

The scenario is as follows. The setting is Japan, 2013. There's a brother and a sister -- twins. They're given up for adoption as babies, and are taken by different families because the less-than-reputable agency that orchestrates the Juno-style adoption wants to make some extra money and charge two families for the same medical (and other) bills. Let's say it's also a "special" adoption, and the birth parents are out of the picture once the ink is dry.

The sister's adoptive parents then die in a car crash when she is 15, and shortly after she finds out she has a brother and meets the family that had adopted him back in the day. They all take to each other, and the brother's family offers to take her in and make their guardianship of her official. Now, I've also read up on adult adoption, a common practice in Japan for the purposes of inheritance, and I know that 15 is old enough to be adopted as an "adult" (thanks, Wikipedia). My questions are, though:

1) Is the state likely to intervene at all in this context? After all, the age of majority in Japan is 20, and kids remain in orphanages until age 18.

2) Let's say the girl's adoptive parents' extended family comes out for the funeral. Would she need their permission to be adopted by another family as an "adult"? Would they have legal grounds to contest her decision?

3) If the answer to either of the above questions is "yes," how weighty of an argument would it be that she should be with her brother? I know blood ties are considered quite important in Japan. In this scenario the brother is her only known biological relative, though it might not matter because he's a minor as well.

Basically, I am tempted to orchestrate some sort of legal battle that happens in the background as brother and sister bond, and my questions are geared at figuring out how I should frame it, or whether I should even go there. Any advice would be appreciated.

What happens to Shinto/Buddhist food offerings
EmptyMirrors 2
Modern day Japan. Urban but not any specific city, if that makes a difference.

Search terms: Japan Shinto/Buddhist shrine offerings food distribution disposal (plus any number of other things I can't remember any longer)

This is possibly a stupid question, but I've been googling for hours and can't find an answer. As I understand it, food is a common offering at Shinto and Buddhist shrines in Japan. Some of it, especially at festival times and such are either considered blessed and taken away again for use later on or eaten during the ceremony.

What I want to know is, what happens to the rest? The smaller everyday offerings. Is it left for a certain amount of time and then cleared away? Is it left overnight? Is there a routine or procedure? Does it vary depending on the type of food or the shrine? I know it would be considered incredibly bad manners/luck/wrong to steal food from a shrine, but is it just left in the open where it would be possible to steal it? My MCs are supernatural so I don't think they care much about the morality of it, I just need to know the logistics.

Becoming a Medical Researcher in Japan
word vomit
This is an easy one, I hope!

I'm writing a story in which my main character is a Japanese student studying to eventually become a medical research scientist. I've found some great resources on the ins and outs of medical school in Japan, but everything I've found is geared more towards the student who wants to get out and practice medicine in a clinical setting. My character doesn't like people that much at this point in her life, and would rather look under a microscope.

I know in America generally medical research is a PhD-level degree (so bachelors, then masters/doctorate) but it doesn't necessarily require med school/acquiring a MD. If you want you can go that route but you can still become a researcher in America without being a Doctor is my understanding. Is this similar in Japan? It would make a huge difference in how old my character is. TIA!

- Many variants on "how to become a medical researcher in Japan" in Google
- The archives of this community; I stuck with the japan (misc) and japan (education) tags
- - the website for Tokyo Medical University; this site gives info about post-MD Doctorate students on one page, but doesn't specify whether the MD is required. The Admissions page was useless to me :(

Praying for a missing person in Japan
Setting: Japan, late 1990s

I have a situation where a character goes missing for a period of months; they eventually do turn up, but given the circumstances (high school student goes tromping around in the woods and never comes back, searchers turn up nothing), they were gone long enough for people to think they were probably dead and greet their return as miraculous.

My question is, in the meantime, how and where would this person's family and friends pray for them, especially as it seems more and more likely that they're dead?  The family in particular wouldn't want to have a funeral or treat them as if they're dead unless they find a body or the person is legally declared dead (which would be a certain number of years, I think?  Longer than they're gone), but they're also accepting that the chances aren't good, so they're caught in the middle like "please take care of them wherever they are; if they're alive, I hope they're safe and come back to us; if they're gone, I hope they didn't suffer."

Specifically: when praying for this person, would the family be likely to use a home altar of some kind, a special object like a religious item or a picture of the person, and/or candles or incense or such, and in general if you watched them pray for the person, what would you expect it to look like?  If the family and friends wanted to go somewhere to pray for this person, where would they go and what would they do?

Looked up kamidana, butsudan, and ema but didn't find how they would be used in this case.  Googled variations of "how Japanese pray for missing person" and just found tsunami-related non-Japanese "pray for Japan" pages or missing-persons news stories.  Also found information on the ritual for praying at a Shinto shrine; those pages said people in mourning weren't supposed to visit Shinto shrines because of the impurity of death, which just made me more curious how praying to kami or wishing on an ema would work or not in my specific case.

Thank you!

History/Culture Question: Kamo no Matsuri/Aoi Matsuri 1870 - 1884
ffvii; wutai
Searched: variations of Kamo no Matsuri 1870's/1880's, Aoi no Matsuri 1870's/1880's, and Aoi Festival Meiji Period.
Found: No day-to-day details nor any mention of interim activities.

Question: When the Aoi Festival was discontinued during the Meiji Period, exactly how discontinued was it? Wiki (ugh) only indicates that the procession was discontinued. Does that mean that other aspects of the festival, like the horse races and archery exhibitions earlier in the month were also discontinued, or did those still happen? Would there still have been a large influx of people into the city during May?

Japanese culture and the koto
Gakupo and Kaito
I'd like to know about what Japan thinks about koto players. As in, it seems like most koto players are female, so would a male koto player face prejudice? Be considered strange?
And I read somewhere the koto is considered something a girl from a traditional Japanese family would know how to play.

Setting: Present-time Japan. It's a Dangan Ronpa roleplay, if it helps.
Google search: male koto players, koto players male, koto traditional,

Ways to get a hot bath and spend the night, Japan c. 1990
Setting: Japan circa 1990, a small city, sometime between 8 pm and midnight.

Hero (16yo male) is rescuing runaway Kid (9yo male) who has gotten wet, and at the moment he can't go to either of their homes or hand him off to a friendly policeman For Reasons.

If this was in the States, I'd have him check into a motel, put Kid in a hot bath, and hand-launder his clothes with the leftover shampoo and the hair-dryer, but I don't know enough about comparable lodgings and their bath amenities in Japan, and my Google searches (japan motel bath, japan lodgings bath, japan motel amenities) tend to bring up either specific --- often American --- establishments' ads or information on things I can't use, like ryokan (too upscale), capsule hotels (too tight and unprivate), and love hotels (too skeevy and windowless). What little hints I can find ("ingenious arrangements where one faucet serves tub and sink" etc) are too vague to work from.

So. The things I need are: a relatively affordable way for Hero and Kid to spend the night, a way to get Kid warm and dry (he could feasibly have a dry change of clothes on him), a suitable place for them to have a touching emotional scene, and a way for Hero to see it with a few minutes' warning when the police arrive. I initially wanted a room with a private bath and a TV, but I'm also considering having Hero take Kid to a bath house and them passing the night in a quiet-ish corner of a shopping mall or arcade (ETA: just thought of a laundromat, too) or something if that would be more practical.

I also looked up "homelessness in Japan" for ideas and found internet/manga cafes, but c. 1990 is probably too early for that.


Specific Shinto rituals for exorcising a location
Count D
Setting is a starship in the year 3012. Their mission is to research a variety of malevolent psychic and frequently reality-warping entities that possess ships and attempt to lure boarding parties for more victims. Their ship's AI is actually an artificially-created and (apparently) benevolent entity that works on the same principles. My scientist character is trying to find ways to directly harm these entities, and one of the lines of investigation she's looking into is trying traditional methods of driving out evil spirits/negative energy from a place, on the logic that these entities have probably existed for much longer than space travel and some of those old rituals might actually have something to them. She's spent most of her life in Japan, so I figure she'd be most familiar with Shinto and try that first.

I've searched Google for "driving out evil spirits Shinto", "shinto exorcism", and "shinto exorcism rituals" and "shinto exorcism rituals locations", and from that I know that she's probably going to need an ounusa or haraegushi to shake around, but I don't know any details other than that. Are there any particular chants that might go with it? She has a severe speech impediment and mobility issues; would that, ritualistically speaking, mess it up? If so, could she get one of her teammates who don't have a speech impediment but don't actually understand Japanese to do it by rote?

I've also found a lot of stuff about purifying people, but they can't exactly make one of these "Nightmare Ships" go sit under a waterfall.

Any information on other religions' exorcism methods would also be appreciated for if/when the Game Master decides that this doesn't work, but I figure I'll research those separately when the time comes.

ETA: Talked to my GM and linked him to this. We both agreed that the fact my scientist is an abstracted consciousness still imperfectly plugged into her body's timey-wimeified remains (okay, she's a sci-fi zombie, but we're very determinedly Not Using The Z-Word in-universe) is going to be prohibitive to her meeting the ritual purity requirement, so she's going to be giving one of her teammates the supplies and detailed instructions, which include "avoid me and [other undead teammate] like the plague for a week or so". I've also ordered a used copy of that book mentioned and will probably end up taking a lot of notes from that. Thanks, everyone! :3

Hiking spots with 'ghosts' in the vincinity of Tokyo
serious Optimus
In my current story, the protagonist gets involved in a 'haunting' in the mountains, so I'm looking for information about hiking areas in Japan which have a rich lore about ghosts and other myths. The places should be within a day's travel reach from Tokyo, accessible via roads, but still a bit hidden and not overflown with visitors.

I'd also appreciate information about superstitions connected to these areas and if there are special products the people living in these areas produce and/or sell to visitors and tourists.

Edit: Please no more mentions of Aokigahara! I've looked it up, but it doesn't fit what I'm looking for at all. My characters would never visit such a place. The area should have a reputation, yeah, but rather being known for having lots of classical stories and myths about ghosts, yokai and others connected to it.

[ANON POST] Pogs in Japan
music, serious face
Were pogs ever popular in Japan? If so when, what were they called in Japanese, and what are the youngest and oldest ages at which people were likely to collect and play them?

For those who are lost, pogs are cardboard coins. People contribute equal numbers of them to a stack or pile, and then take turns throwing heavier coins called slammers at them. You keep any pogs you flipped over and the winner is whoever flipped the most. They were a big fad in America in the 1990s. My setting is the 90s, but Japan. I have room to fudge the dates by a few years, but not whole decades.

I know pogs came from a Japanese game called menko, but pogs are specific. They're circles of a uniform diameter (there are standard pog tubes to carry your collection in), they're hit with a slammer instead of just another pog and so are probably lighter than menko cards, and I think menko comes in neat sets whereas pogs tend to be a haphazard collection that changes with every game played. Pogs were regularly given out individually or sold from a bin of mixed ones. Pogs are played with a stack/pile, not just one card each like menko, and collecting pogs is half the fun. Most importantly for my story, pogs were a popular fad. Everyone played/collected them and then no one did.

So far I've read the Wikipedia on pogs and menko, and and skimmed their talk pages. I read another wiki on how to play menko. I've been through the "Japan (misc)" tag here.

Search terms: "did they have pogs in japan" "pogs japan" "pogs japan -com" "remember pogs" and just "pogs".

Child Registration in Japan
gem beasts <3
Setting: Japan, 2011
Search Terms: Child registration (Japan), childbirth (Japan), single parents child registration

My main character (Japanese, male) has taken in a three-months-old baby who comes from a different dimension and isn't human (but can pass for human). The child's birth parents are dead, and no one was willing to take care of the baby, so he and his partner (who also isn't human, and can't pass for human either) decided to take her in and raise her as their child. 

I'm assuming that he should try to register the child at some point. My problem is, how would he explain her presence? The existence of non-humans isn't common knowledge, so he can't reveal that. However, saying that he just adopted her without going through the legal process would raise all kinds of questions as well. My angle is to have him claim that she's the result of a one-night-stand and that the mother didn't want to raise the child, but since there is no birth mother actually involved, he has no proof for that. 

If all else fails, I can have friends of the main character forge the required legal documents, but if at all possible, I would like to find a legal way.

Thanks in advance!

ETA: The most obvious way in which the non-humanness of the child manifests is that she isn't visible or tangible outside her native dimension. Both MC and his partner have the power to keep her visible/tangible in other worlds, but if she's taken away from them, however briefly, it will look like she just disappeared, so I really want to avoid that scenario.

Bullying in a Japanese high school
Classy Watanuki
It's me again; same characters and scenario mentioned in this post. (Thanks to all who helped BTW)

Cut just in caseCollapse )

delinquency stereotypes in japanese middle schools?
BiiCat Loli
what would be some common appearance and behavior stereotypes for delinquency in Japanese schools during the modern day? the character in question is 13 and has a reputation as being a delinquent, even though he's never really done anything distinctively bad and isn't trying to necessarily follow any "typical delinquent subcultures". also, is the Juggalo subculture at all present in Japan? i can't find ANYTHING that might help.

it would also be helpful if someone could tell me if the Yanki subculture is still a thing over there and if a 13 year old girl (another character) would realistically be in that subculture?

i've googled variants of "modern day japan delinquant" and i keep getting things about Yanki and Bosozoku.