anime_angel_ash (anime_angel_ash) wrote in little_details,

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Yoshiwara: Courtesans With Children

Setting: Tokyo, Japan, 1880

Hello, everyone! Good to see this community again. Unfortunately, it seems I've worked myself into yet another factual pickle. Hopefully, someone here can give me a hand.

Also, I just added a bit more information and another question, because I was silly and realized that some of my information didn't flow together very well.

So, I have these two characters: a European mother and her mixed-race daughter, living in Tokyo. The husband/father has kicked the bucket, which means that the two of them must support themselves. However, because of their obvious heritage during a time when Europeans were not well loved in Japan, the only work that the mother can find is the obvious: prostitution.

This is where the questions begin. First, am I correct in thinking that all the girls who worked in the brothels lived there? (I've heard of high-level courtesans that were essentially first class citizens and could do as they pleased, but that's not really a position that this European woman can achieve.) So, the mother would be living in the brothel, right?

Second, if the mother is living and working in the brothel, would her daughter be forced to do the same? The daughter is fifteen and underdeveloped, but still suited to do brothel work herself. However, her mother isn't too hot on the idea, given that disease runs rampant through the brothels. If the mother begged and pleaded, would there be other work that her daughter could perform under the eye of the madams, or would that be out of the question?

Third, there comes a point where the mother is bought from the brothel and is to serve as the concubine of a rich merchant. Would she be living in his home during this time? Also, given this set of circumstances, would the daughter come with her? If not, what would become of the daughter? Would she stay at the brothel? Would she be forced out, and either made to live on the streets, or to find cheap housing somewhere else?

ETA: Once again, my own ignorance astounds me. Since the mother was not sold to the brothel (as many girls were to pay off family debts), could the merchant even purchase her in the first place?

So far, the most useful search I tried was simply 'Yoshiwara', which gave me nothing about the children of courtesans. After that, I tried, 'Yoshiwara "courtesans with children"', 'Yoshiwara courtesan', 'Yoshiwara courtesan with a daughter', and even 'Yoshiwara courtesan with a children' (I was apparently so frustrated at this point that my grammar went right out the window ^_^). However, these turned up nothing.

In summary, my questions are:

-Do the girls that work at a brothel live there as well?
-Would the daughter of a courtesan who is of age be forced to work as a prostitute as well, or could their be other work for her?
-If the courtesan is bought and made a concubine, would she be living with the merchant or on his land? Would her daughter come with her? If not, would her daughter be permitted to stay at the brothel, or would she have to leave?

Also, one last little tidbit: given the things that are going to take place after everything mentioned above, I'm really trying to find out if there is a means for the two of them to have a small place of their own (slummy, in a bad location, falling apart, but a place). However, I fear that this is unrealistic.

So, my last question is this: would it be possible for them to be living in a place of their own (or even just the daughter living there, but the mother paying for it), or is this out of the question? EDIT: Not a house! Silly, modern-age, American me. I was talking about a place to live and a house like they were synonymous. A room would be better.

Wow, that's a monumental amount of questions. Sorry about that. Any help here is greatly appreciated and will be rewarded with eternal love and e-goodies.
Tags: japan: history

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