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CAGED PROSTITUTES -- The Lowest Order of the Japanese Brothel System (#1) or, WOULD YOU SELL YOUR CHILD TO A WHORE HOUSE ?

Such a scene as this ca.1890s image of caged prostitutes being gawked at does not exist in Japan anymore. However, there are PLENTY of places in Japan today where, like Amsterdam in Holland, the women "willingly" put themselves on decorative display in whole districts dedicated to their trade.


In spite of that, the circumstances surrounding the entry of adult women into modern-day Japanese prostitution is a far cry from the social and cultural situation that put these women into their cages during the Meiji-era time of this photograph.


Obviously --- at least in the case of old Japan --- the cage is a cage only by contract and understanding. The thin, wooden bars can be easily broken, but the symbolism of the barricade stands for the agreed-upon social structures that cannot be broken --- the cage is the culture itself.


Although these Japanese women are "of age", their presence in the cage did not begin as an adult "career choice" to pursue prostitution as a means to help their families (or themselves). Rather, these choices were made for them at tender ages (many at ages 5 to 7) when the nature of what they were being "sold into" was beyond their understanding.


What you see in the photograph is simply the end result of socially structured and approved culling of the nation's female children for the ultimate purpose of prostitution. Therefore, any discussion of these adult Japanese women and their position in the cage is inseparable from a discussion of CHILD PROSTITUTION and CHILD RAPE.


The terms CHILD PROSTITUTION and CHILD RAPE in the case of Japan are also problematic, as the "age of consent" was nominally 13, and defenders of Japan's practice of selling off their kids to brothels say that the little girls didn't actually start taking on customers until about age 13, so no rape or coercion was employed.


However, in Japan, "having sex" means only direct intercourse using the intended plumbing --- all other forms of not counting --- and as part of the "prostitute apprenticeship" of the younger 5-to-12-year-old girls, who knows what their "elder sisters" in the cages trained them to do before their time had come.


No matter what the apologists say, I'm sure the under-aged girls were kept busy practicing "other services" for the customers. As for there being "no coercion", of course the girls would have "consented" to anything --- being trained to do so, and helped along by having a "cultural gun" pointed at their heads while the patriarchal society nodded in approval ~ !




Flickr member Noel43 has provided an excellent link that details some of what you see in the above photo :


You may back-track and read more by scrolling at the above link. Thanks again, Noel.


Now, on to the the issues...


In my title, I use the word WHOREHOUSE. What is a WHORE, anyway ? What does the use of the word "WHORE" imply about a woman's volition in placing herself in this position ? What if she was placed there by others ?


In today's world, is it fair to call a 10-year-old girl who's been abducted by sexual traffickers and thrown into a concrete cell to service 10 to 15 men a day a whore ? Unfortunately, there are many men out there who would and do call them "little whores", and seek out their services.


Or....what if a little girl grew up in that cell, or cage, and had acclimated herself to the "job" that was forced on her as her destiny in life, knowing nothing else at the hands of the men who bought her and pimped her ? Is it fair to call one of these adult women a "WHORE" in such a case ?


Unfortunately again, many men do exactly that, and believe that is exactly what a women is born for.


Back in my hometown of Philadelphia, a certain part of the Black population (just like the White population of Boston and vicinity) cannot pronounce the letter "R" even if their life depended on it, and the now popular Ebonic "HO" instead of WHORE has hit the mainstream.


Overuse of a word in any language serves the lessen the impact and implications of the vocabulary at hand. And euphemisms deliver us all from the harsh untidiness of old taboo vocabularies.


However, for any self-righteous folks here who think that using the word Brothel instead of Whore House would somehow improve the situation of these girls (and lessen the chance of either party picking up an STD), I suggest that in the future, all men should totally avoid using "prostitutes, hookers and whores", and instead, only obtain the sexual services of "escorts, call girls, and courtesans".


Or --- in the case of old Japan --- avoid the girls in the cages, and only pay for the first-class "Oiran and Tayuu" (although there is intrinsically no difference between any of them).


Apparently, using such new and improved euphemisms for the same damn thing will magically transform the experience of a man having his "sexual needs" satisfied, while at the same time having his all-important male ego stroked (and his delicate self esteem lovingly pampered and confirmed).




While I am expressing my own opinions here in absolute terms, there are others who consider this subject to be an ethically subjective one. That is to say, some nominally educated people feel --- in what they call "HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE", guided by a principle they call "TIME-PLACE", while smoking something called "CULTURAL AND MORAL RELATIVITY"" --- that the custom of selling your child to a whorehouse was, and still is a viable social choice in certain economic and cultural situations.


Let it be known that Okinawa_Soba considers any use of the adolescent "TIME-PLACE" argument in this discussion to be a "grasping at straws" argument used only by folks who are stuck half way between the moon and being declared BRAIN DEAD --- as spelled out here in a reply given to another commenter :


Saying it another way, while I consider CHILD RAPE and CHILD PROSTITUTION to be totally wrong in any age and culture, and under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (to the point where I feel that male clients of the children should be speedily executed in order to remove their DNA from the gene pool), there are others who do NOT feel that way --- defending the right of the parents and society to sexually exploit or prostitute their children under specified circumstances.


You will meet one of these "time-place" folks (flickr member "timtak") in the comments section below this caption. Whether Timtak is for real, a troll, or just "playing the Devil's Advocate" here is something you can judge for yourself. His arguments and opinions are worth reading, even if you disagree with him. His comments reveal a bit of the thinking (or argument) of those who defend the sale and use of young, pre-pubescent girls into a life of sexual servitude for the paying customers who search them out. His arguments are also worth taking the time to rebut.


On the other hand, if men who argue along the lines of Timtak suddenly finds themselves being ass-raped by a gang of ten, well endowed Sodomites, they might change their tune concerning what's fair and ethical in the world of "consensual sex".


As a matter of fact, there are many countries and cultures even today where men enjoy the quasi-approval of dominant religious thought (or unquestioned tradition) concerning the sexual [ab]use of young children, and who think it's perfectly OK to poke their body parts into any child of any young age.


In such countries (and among many tribes), my DEATH RANT against these men would probably be seen as misguided and hysterical, and any protests on behalf of sexually [ab]used young children would no doubt fall on deaf ears. Of course, this is only one of many reasons the peoples and cultures of the world establish borders, enact laws, cling to traditions, and....make war with other tribes and neighboring countries. Part of that discussion may be seen in the COMMENTS section below.






These days, if you want to see women sold into prostitution by their fathers, Thailand is a good place to start. There, as in the above photo, you can find whole groups of girls "caged" behind glass partitions, all with numbers hanging around their necks. The customers can look them over until they decide which "number" is their "type". She is then pulled out of the line-up to make some man's dream come true for a few minutes (or a day). Of course, none of the guys have any interest in what HER dreams might be; and the girls (like the Japanese women seen above) are soon tossed back into their cages (some cages being symbolic, and others being very real).


Over 30 years ago, while living in Japan, I met one of those caged women from Thailand who had finally made it out after having been made to sit naked and gawked at for many years. Several times a day, she had waited for her number to be called by an endless parade of half-drunk sex-tourists from Europe, North America, and.....JAPAN.


I remember her telling me that her favorite song in the whole world was "Amazing Grace". One day, I asked her to sing it for me in her own language. She got very quiet, and looked away from if remembering some deep shame from which she had finally been delivered. This former prostitute, who had once been sold into virtual slavery by her father, began to sing in a soft, low whisper. She barely moved as the words to the old hymn came quietly from her lips. Even now, I can still see the tears running down her face......




The Japanese Military was also not above throwing young women into cell blocks, and sticking numbers on them for the purpose of forced prostitution :


Not all prostitutes in Japan led such a dismal existence. At the opposite extreme from the women in the above photo were the "OIRAN" and TAYUU" -- the highest class of prostitutes -- who enjoyed (if that's the term that can be used) the highest level of freedom, but only after having "paid their dues" in one way or another.


For a look at one of these Oiran, including captions built on sarcasm, spoof, parody, and a bit of disdain for the culture that glorified them, please see (at your own risk) the following images :


and :


A more SERIOUS explanation of the OIRAN and TAYUU is found at this photo :


I have also posted two other closer views of different girls at similar establishments. Those images will be found on this page : PLUS a bonus SUICIDE view.


For a modern-day, popular family festival that was once popular with prostitutes here in Japan, please follow this link and be enlightened :






".......[A young girl named] Nuch was working as a maid in Bangkok when a trafficker promising her a lucrative job in a Thai restaurant lured her to Tokyo. The young woman, who had only a fourth-grade education, was told that she would merely have to pay off a small debt for expenses when she got to Tokyo. But once in Japan, she was robbed of her passport, fed birth control pills, and coerced into working as a prostitute at two late-night snack bars. She had to sexually service several often drunk and dirty customers a night. And she was stuck: The more money she made, the more her captors increased her "debt."


Nuch was warned to hide the fact that she came from Thailand, because Japanese men feared Thai women had AIDS. One night, Nuch slipped and told a client where she came from. When her client left, her captors beat her. "If you tell another person you are Thai again, you will have a name, but no body," they threatened. After many months, the police swept in and arrested everyone, including Nuch. She served several months in solitary confinement before Japanese authorities sent her home to Thailand.


Then the worst news came: She tested positive for HIV. It might have surprised her Japanese johns to discover that it was they, not she, who were the real risks....."


From Let's Call 'Sex Tourism' What It Really Is: Slavery (By Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Rodale Inc. Posted August 1, 2008.) originally appearing here :




♦ THE SET --- PROSTITUTES of Old Japan 昔の日本の売春婦 :

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Taken on March 15, 2008