Life of an Amorous Man
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First published in 1682, The Life of an Amorous Man depicts the pursuits and follies of the most glorious age of Japan, when wealthy commoners could rise above the warrior caste and indulge in the free and easy life of Japan's pleasure houses. The hero, Yonosuke, whose name means "Man of the World," is followed from his precocious childhood to the close of his amatory career. His erotic escapades are chronicled, always with frankness and often with pathos. The character sketches of the women (and sometimes men) with whom he dallied are vividly portrayed.
home will hear about this affair." Together they set out for the town of Kashima, her destination, in Hitachi Province. Meanwhile it occurred to Yonosuke that this holy function of spreading Shinto revelations held unique possibilities. It could be made to serve his own purposes, which were anything but divine. He decided to become a shrine oracle himself. By clever persuasion, for he was gifted with a many-faceted mind and a glib tongue, he got himself ordained at the Kashima Shrine.
asks the proprietor, and she is ushered all too eagerly into the house. "There are a number of other establishments, some forty-eight in all. Each has a special secret contrivance. Mostly they are in the trade to provide a meeting place for women who, for some reason or other, want to have secret affairs with men." Oh, what a dreadul story! Hide the truth from innocent wives and daughters! To them we say:There is nothing to tell—nothing to tell. PASSING SCENE IN KYOTO AS might have been
starry background. "Who are you?" he demanded, "And what are you doing up there?" A voice from the treetop answered: "Mortifying! This is indeed mortifying! If I had been shot to death by an arrow, I would never be suffering like this. But you, Sansaburo-sama—you, out of your goodness—stopped it, and my agony has increased twofold. I feel as though my bones were cracking—a living hell, I tell you." Hot tears flowed from the eyes of the man in the tree as he said this, and he now wiped them with
dictatorship, with its sumptuary laws and outspread strategy designed to discourage rebellion among ambitious princes and lords, had brought prolonged peace to a land hitherto wrecked by civil war. Samurai swords now rusted from disuse. The commoners had no part in government, but merchants, craftsmen, shopkeepers, moneylenders, and innkeepers in the great burgeoning cities began to thrive as never before. They were the men with the goods, producers and sellers of services. The samurai warrior
pleasure-seeking men have spent your lives in seeing and experiencing all there was to see and experience among dancing girls and wanton women. There is nothing else for you, or for me, to get excited about here. We shall leave with no regrets. From now on, we are going to cross the sea, in search of the isle of Nyogo, an isolated body of land inhabited solely by women. There I shall introduce you to a different type of female: the aggressive sort who will come to seize you and sweep you off your