Something about Jack clicked as the Doctor stared at the central column. He’d been hurting. And in the pandemonium of recent event he hadn’t noticed. Taking a deep breath, the Doctor set the controls for Cardiff and Torchwood. He owed Jack that much at least. When he found Jack waiting for him in front of the water tower, he paused. “You’ve taken your sweet old time exiting.”
The Doctor quirked the side of his mouth up in a small smile. He followed Jack when the former Time Agent suggested that they go for drinks. Once settled in the pub, he got the immortal talking.
“I lost two of my team,” Jack stated. “Owen is wasting away in the remnants of a nuclear facility meltdown... and Toshiko was fatally shot. By my brother.” At the Doctor’s questioning look, Jack sighed. “It’s a really long story that I really don’t want to go into right now. I’m not ready.”
The Doctor clenched his jaw and stared at his drink for a while. “Have you sorted out their things?” He asked, changing the subject from this mysterious brother.
“Owen’s place we got into order. Tosh’s place is tonight.”
“I’d like to help if you don’t mind?” Jack accepted the offer with a small smile and called the Hub. He informed them that he would be at Toshiko’s flat when they arrived later.
“There’s someone who wants to go through it first.” He’d told them.
The two men finished their drinks and left for Toshiko Sato’s flat. Jack was rooting around for the key when the Doctor produced the sonic and gained them entrance. Jack shrugged and followed the Doctor inside. The first thing he noticed was the kimono hanging on the opposite wall. “That was different the last time I was here,” Jack said.
“It’s a spring kimono,” the Doctor said softly. “She probably changed them out according to the time of year.” Jack gave him an odd look.
“What does the time of year have to do...?”
“Kimonos are designed with different patterns and colours depending on the time of year,” he explained. Nodding towards the pale lavender kimono with embroidered flowers on the wall, he continued. “Narcissus is a popular one for spring.”
“And it was autumn last time I was here and the kimono had falling maple leaves,” Jack stated, as realisation dawned on him.
The Doctor had walked towards the kimono hanging on the wall and bowed. Jack saw that there was a small shrine below the kimono and nodded. The shrine was flanked by two large cabinets. The Doctor opened one up and pulled out a sliding shelf. Jack joined him and watched as the Doctor unfolded the delicate paper that was wrapped around another kimono. It was the maple leaf one Jack had just spoken about.
Jack counted fifteen sliding shelves in the cabinet and opened the second one to find the same thing. Fifteen shelves, all with carefully wrapped kimonos. “That’s one hell of a collection,” he murmured.
“I know that three of them cost roughly ten thousand quid,” the Doctor said as he pulled out a second shelf. “This is one of them.”
Jack watched as the Doctor fingered the silk of the dark burgundy kimono he’d found. “She got it that one time you two took off?” Jack asked. The Doctor just nodded, lost in thought.
He still had a large amount of cash left over after dinner and Toshiko had said that she wanted a look around. He’d laughed at the pout she gave him when he said that they would be avoiding the electronics shops. She’d called him a bastard for spoiling her fun. They walked arm in arm down a side street and Toshiko paused, a small boutique selling antique kimonos had caught her eye. She had hugged him when he told her that she could blow the last of the money in the boutique if she wanted. “What am I going to do with it otherwise?” he’d said.
The elderly owner looked up when they entered concern etching her face when she saw the Doctor. She glanced around at her stock and then back to him. He was far too tall for anything she had. Sensing her distress, he jerked his head towards Toshiko who had immediately walked over to an ornate kimono of dark burgundy silk embroidered with koi fish. He chuckled as the old woman sighed in relief before heading towards Toshiko and offering to assist her.
The woman was pleased that Toshiko knew her kimonos so well and gladly assisted her. The Doctor had taken a seat on a low bench while the woman helped Toshiko into the burgundy kimono. She came out and he sat up, awe written on his face. She held a fan to her face demurely to hide the grin she had in response to his appreciative stare. “Definitely taking this one,” Toshiko told the old woman. The woman just chuckled as Toshiko scanned the others hanging on the wall.
She found a white one with bamboo shoots and went to change into it. The Doctor was still in awe at how beautiful she’d looked in the first one. The white one nearly stopped his hearts. “He’s got good tastes,” the old woman whispered to her. Toshiko agreed. She added the cost in her head with the burgundy one and realised that there was enough for one more.
“You pick one out,” Toshiko suggested to the Doctor. His eyes grew wide for a moment before he rose to his feet and his brow furrowed in concentration. The two women watched as he carefully scrutinised a dozen kimonos before deciding on a soft cream one with a willow motif embroidered into it. “Really good taste,” the woman whispered behind her hand and Toshiko giggled. She took off to try on the Doctor’s choice and returned shortly after, grinning like a little girl at Christmas.
“I’m with her! You have excellent taste!” Toshiko said, nodding towards the woman who was wrapping up the other two she’d chosen. As Toshiko changed back into the yukata she’d been wearing the woman totalled up their purchase. The Doctor was left with three New Yen to his name after the sale was completed. The woman wrapped up the third kimono and handed them over to Toshiko. The Doctor took the parcel from her and they bowed to the old woman before taking their leave.
“...do you want it?” Jack asked again.
The Doctor shook his head and looked over at Jack. “Sorry?”
“I said; do you want it?” Jack repeated.
“If it’s alright, yes. There’s two more,” he added. They looked through the cabinets until they found the other two. The Doctor set them aside with the accessories they had been kept with. Jack let out a low whistle at the impressive collection on the table.
“I can see why that cost a bundle.”
The Doctor chuckled and told Jack where they’d come from. “You were in twenty seventh century Osaka and you went kimono shopping?” Jack asked in disbelief.
“She didn’t tell you where we’d gone?” Jack shook his head and the Doctor chuckled. “Well considering...”
“Two words: Pleasure Den,” the Doctor replied, waggling his eyebrows. Jack winced, laughing as he shook his head.
“That’ll explain why she didn’t tell me anything.”
“If that’s the case, then I’m not going to oblige,” the Doctor smirked.
The two men shared a laugh before continuing through the apartment. In Toshiko’s bedroom Jack saw a set of framed prints on the wall. One was of a woman bathing in a spring, her yukata hanging loosely from her shoulders. Closer inspection of it had him calling the Doctor over. “That looks like Gallifreyan writing,” Jack said, pointing to the designs on the woman’s yukata.
The Doctor leaned closer and studied the print with a smirk. “So it does. It says: The Doctor was here!” Jack rolled his eyes and playfully smacked the Doctor’s arm. “I’m serious. That’s what it says. Actually she has two of those. The second one is over there,” he said, pointing towards a second copy of the print on another wall. “She should have the first print after all; it is her in the picture.”
“That one is different...no?” Jack took a closer look and could see that the difference was that the second one had a verse written along the left hand side of the print, other than that, they were identical. “You seriously made that, and that’s Tosh?” Jack folded his arms across his chest and gave him a disbelieving look, so the Doctor sat on the bed and told him how an ukiyo-e print of Toshiko had his name on it.
Toshiko hadn’t believed him when he’d told her that he had convinced Kublai Khan to forego building a navy, and just requisition every large boat around to get his army to Japan’s shores. So he decided to show her. Toshiko was amazed when she stepped from the TARDIS into a raging typhoon. They’d found shelter and watched one of the greatest naval disasters in history unfold. “It’s 1274, we’re in Hakata on Kyushu and the fleet arrived yesterday,” he said, nodding to the boats floundering helplessly in the sea. “This mess kicked up very early this morning as the army was about to launch its attack.”
Afterwards, they had gone inland to visit a friend of the Doctor’s, a local shogun that gratefully let them use his private onsen as their quarters for their visit. It was at the onsen that the Doctor saw Toshiko as she was getting ready to join him in the spring, and realised where he’d got the inspiration for an ukiyo-e print that he’d seen in an exhibit with his signature.
After an evening of cavorting, they’d fallen asleep. The Doctor had woken up after a few hours and began making the blocks that would be needed for the print. When he’d seen where he had put his signature, he grinned. He signed the piece several times, all in places where his hands had roamed over the subject’s body the night before. Toshiko had woken later and saw the sketch. Much to her surprise she realised that she had a print of the finished piece in her flat. She also knew who the artist was now, seeing as the copy she had was titled ‘Bathing Beauty, artist unknown’.
“Oh! So you two had a little fling huh?” Jack teased.
“Just a small one,” the Doctor smirked. “After that it was off to twenty seventh century Osaka. A little bit more ‘fling’ and some serious shopping afterwards.”
Jack laughed as he returned his gaze to the print. He looked at another one next to it and squinted. “What about this one?” The Doctor pulled his specs out to see which one Jack was referring to. A man on his back with two pretty partially dressed women entertaining him. He laughed and Jack turned to cock an eyebrow at him. “There’s a story, isn’t there?”
“Oh yes!” The Doctor removed his specs and began to tell Jack what the story behind the second print was.
“Seeing as ukiyo-e doesn’t take off for another couple hundred years, we need to make a pit stop,” he’d told Toshiko. She gestured to the yukata she’d been wearing and asked if she needed to change. “Nah. That’s perfect for the summer of 1792,” he replied.
The TARDIS landed in a side alley and they exited into mid afternoon Edo. Toshiko pointed out sardonically that his appearance might be slightly problematic in the era. He held up a piece of parchment for her to study. “How the hell did you get Shogun Tokugawa Ienari to give you permission to wander freely during the seclusion period?”
“Tipped him off about a couple of his inner circle trying to dispose of him,” the Doctor winked. “Anyway, the locals around here are familiar enough with me that we shouldn’t have too much of a problem,” he continued. “Yoshiwara is a great place to hang out and not be noticed.”
“Yoshiwara? The red light district?” Toshiko gaped.
“Of course. Where else am I going to find an artist or printer to print that lot off?” he replied, referring to the blocks he’d made for his ukiyo-e print.
They walked half a block up the street and the Doctor grinned. “Oh good! He’s home. Konichiwa,” he called into one of the nondescript houses lining the street. Toshiko cocked an eyebrow at the flamboyant figure that came to greet them. He had ink stains all over his jinbei and was rather effeminate in his mannerisms. Jack would love this one, she’d thought to herself as the man greeted the Doctor.
“Utamaro Kitagawa, allow me to introduce you to Sato Toshiko. Toshiko, this is my mate Kitagawa...” his introduction dropped off as Toshiko stepped forward and bowed deeply, a grin on her face as she did so.
“An honour Utamaro-san,” she said. “I am a great admirer of your work.”
“Oh don’t be silly,” he waved off. “Call me Kishi, all my friends do.” He stepped back to welcome them into his home. The Doctor and Toshiko slid out of their shoes and were then led to his main studio area. “So what are those for?” Kishi asked the Doctor as they got comfortable.
“I got inspired and need a printer,” the Doctor grinned, patting the printing blocks.
“Oh let me see?” The Doctor handed his sketch over to Kishi. As Kishi studied it a woman came in with tea. “Fumi-chan, these are my friends the Doctor and Sato Toshiko. This is Harada Fumiko...” Kishi trailed off as the Doctor jumped up to sweep Fumiko off her feet in a massive hug. “You two know each other?”
Fumiko laughed as the Doctor set her back down. “Would you admit to someone that you know a man from another world?” she asked Kishi.
“There you go then,” Fumiko stated her fists on her hips. Turning her attention back to the Doctor she leaned into him. “So when do I get to give this one a work out?” She asked suggestively, placing a hand over his crotch.
“If Toshiko reckons I’ve been a good boy, she might let you,” he smirked.
“Knock yourself out,” Toshiko stated with a wave of her hand. “I could use the break.”
“Good size?” Fumiko asked Toshiko.
“Better than the other ones?” Fumiko inquired of the Doctor.
“I’ll let you be the judge.” He winked.
Toshiko and Kishi both gave the pair an odd look, which the Doctor noticed. “I’ve known Fumiko for ages. Ten years for her, several hundred for me.” The looks he was getting got odder. “A little trick Time Lords have, we don’t die, we regenerate,” he explained.
Toshiko nodded as she recalled reading that about him somewhere, while Kishi just shook his head and returned to studying the Doctor’s sketch. He sat back down as Fumiko knelt down to serve their tea. “Remember, you have a date at the ochaya tonight Kishi,” she suggested as she handed Kishi his tea.
Kishi winced and shuddered before sitting upright, a slow smile on his lips. “And with our guests here, I have an excuse to get out of it!” Fumiko nodded sagely as she sat back with her own tea.
“That old bag’s still after you?” the Doctor asked.
“He likes her money too much to tell her where to go,” Fumiko snorted.
Ignoring the pair, Kishi addressed Toshiko. “The okaasan of one of the ochayas pays rather generously to have her youth returned to her, if only in print.” Toshiko nearly spat her tea out as she struggled to keep from laughing.
“Considering how generous you are with her portraits...” Fumiko muttered.
“That’s why it helps to be drunk when she’s in for a sitting,” Kishi retorted.
Fumiko stood up with her feet slightly apart and crooked, her posture shrivelled and leaning to one side. “I am Miyuki, the greatest geisha in Edo,” she said in a raspy voice. “I am geisha because I’m too nasty to make any money as a yujo,” she finished, snorting and wheezing. Toshiko, the Doctor, and Kishi all roared in laughter at Fumiko’s impression of the ochaya mistress. Fumiko stood up straight and bowed, winking and blowing a kiss to her audience. “No way would she make it into my seiro, that’s for sure,” she added as she took her seat again.
“Fumiko is an oiran and runs one of the brothels here in the district,” the Doctor explained to Toshiko.
“I’m taking a sabbatical,” Fumiko added. “My tayu Kiyo is running things for me at the seiro.”
“Why the sabbatical?” the Doctor asked.
“Do you have any idea how much of a pain in the arse it is to be an elegant lady of the court? All. The. Damn. Time. Besides, Kishi wanted a model for a series of ukiyo-e he’s working on,” Fumiko replied.
“I was going to say...” Toshiko said. “I thought oiran were sophisticated and such.”
“We’re very expensive high class prostitutes,” Fumiko said. “Inside the seiro, we are the mistresses of crude...trust me.”
“Gotcha!” Toshiko nodded with a smirk.
“Fumi-chan, would you like to ruin Miyuki’s day and extend my apologies for skipping out on her tonight?” Kishi asked.
Fumiko reached into her obi and pulled out a coin. “That is a pleasure I’ll pay you for,” she said as she handed the coin over. “Would you like to come with me Toshiko?”
“This I have to see,” Toshiko grinned as she got up.
“We’ll be right back,” Fumiko said to the two men. Taking Toshiko’s arm in hers, the pair headed for the door. Toshiko stopped abruptly and reached back to untie her obi. “Might as well add to the misery,” she said as she adjusted it and retied the obi in front of her yukata.
“I see why he likes you,” Fumiko purred as she linked arms with Toshiko again. The two women laughed as they left. The Doctor and Kishi watched as the pair left before returning their attention to the Doctor’s sketch.
“So I take it this Miyuki isn’t too fond of yujo then?” Toshiko asked as they ambled down the street.
“Her and a few others have a rather dim view of us,” Fumiko replied. “Mostly the prostitutes and geisha get along quite well. Unfortunately, Miyuki and her cronies like to think of us as hinin sometimes,” she added with a growl.
“Like she can talk,” Fumiko snorted. “If we’re lucky, we’ll get her before she’s had the chance to put her make up on.”
They came to an elegant tea house and Fumiko knocked on the door. A young woman answered and her face lit up. “Konichiwa Fumi-chan!”
“Konichiwa Hee-chan,” Fumiko smiled sweetly back. “This is my friend Sato Toshiko. Toshiko, this is Morimoto Hiroko...a long suffering maiko under Miyuki,” she added introducing the two. “Is the old hag in?” she asked.
Hiroko snorted a laugh as she stepped aside to let Toshiko and Fumiko inside. “She’s in a rare mood today,” Hiroko warned.
Fumiko clapped her hands together and grinned. “Oh, good! Just smile sweetly at her when she starts ranting, it pisses her off to no end,” Fumiko told Toshiko.
Toshiko thought she might have a difficult time adhering to Fumiko’s instructions, however when she saw Miyuki she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing out loud. The geisha had not aged well, and she could understand why Fumiko had hoped to catch her before she had prepared for an evening of entertaining. Toshiko figured that it required a lot of make up to make Miyuki presentable. Toshiko knew that the makeup used by geisha and other performers of the time contained lead and other toxic metals, and as such, ruined the skin.
“What do you want Hinin?” Miyuki barked when she saw Fumiko and Toshiko standing in the doorway to the main tea room.
Fumiko bowed deeply before the geisha. “I bring the apologies of my danna who won’t be able to fulfil your invitation this evening,” she said. “He has an important client that arrived today that he must attend to.”
Miyuki gaped at Fumiko, flustered. “But...I have several daimyo coming tonight to meet him!”
“This client was recommended to my danna by Tokugawa Ienari himself,” Fumiko lied. Miyuki just blinked several times but said nothing. “Now that I have delivered his message I will take my leave,” Fumiko smiled, bowing deeply again.
Hiroko escorted Fumiko and Toshiko to the front door. There they could hear Miyuki screaming at several of her attendants to change the plans for the evening. The three of them shared a laugh as Miyuki screeched and ranted away. “You sure you don’t want to come and work for me?” Fumiko offered to Hiroko.
“I’d love to, but I was sold to that one,” Hiroko replied, jerking her head towards the screaming coming from behind them.
Fumiko leaned over to hug Hiroko and whisper in her ear. “You’ll tell me how she bails her arse out of this one, right?”
Hiroko chuckled and said that she would. The three women bowed to each other, and then Fumiko and Toshiko took their leave. Walking back to Kishi’s home, Fumiko said that she wanted to make a quick stop and check on her brothel. Toshiko shrugged and followed along. Inside the brothel Fumiko’s assistant Kiyo came to greet her mistress. “You have come back to us?” She asked as she bowed before going over to hug Fumiko.
“No. I just wanted to see how things were going,” she replied. “And to let you know that Hiroko might stop by with the sordid details of tonight’s impending disaster, tomorrow.” Kiyo gave her a look and Fumiko continued. “Kishi found a way to get out of an invitation tonight,” she said as she waggled her eyebrows.
Kiyo smacked her hands over her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. Fumiko smirked and then introduced Kiyo to Toshiko. Kiyo made light conversation with Toshiko while Fumiko checked on her girls and the books. “Good haul lately,” she said as she returned to Kiyo and Toshiko. “What’s been going on?”
“Lots of samurai,” Kiyo grinned. “And I do mean lots!”
Fumiko considered that for a moment before shrugging. “So much for being forbidden from the pleasure quarters,” she muttered. “Take twenty percent and distribute it among the girls,” she instructed Kiyo. “If anything comes up, you know where to find me,” she added as leaned over and kissed Kiyo’s brow.
Kiyo hugged Fumiko and bowed to Toshiko. “It has been a pleasure meeting you,” she said.
“The pleasure is mine,” Toshiko replied, bowing back to Kiyo.
“Be good,” Fumiko called out as they left. She waved to the prostitutes sitting in the front window on display and they waved back.
As the pair walked back to Kishi’s house, Fumiko told Toshiko a little about herself. “I was sold to the seiro at age seven. The oiran at the time liked my looks and the fact that I was already learning to play the samisen, so she took me in as her apprentice. The fact that I play it so well is one of several reasons Miyuki doesn’t like me very much. I play better than her,” Fumiko smirked.
“How old were you when you had your first customer?” Toshiko asked.
Fumiko concentrated for a moment before answering. “Fourteen I think...yeah, fourteen. I achieved the rank of oiran at twenty and took over the seiro two years later when my mistress was bought as a concubine. That was five years ago,” Fumiko said. “My mistress wanted to retire from the pomp and circumstance, so that’s why she accepted the offer from one of the Tokugawas to be a concubine.”
“Do you think that you’ll do that one day?” Toshiko asked.
“If I can get breaks like the one I’m taking now, then no. I like what I do,” Fumiko replied. “So where and when did he pick you up?” she asked, changing the subject.
Toshiko laughed. “Cardiff in Wales and about...” She paused to do the math in her head. “Two hundred and six years into your future.”
Fumiko glanced around before leaning closer to Toshiko. “I know the Shogunate doesn’t last much longer, he told me so. So what is Japan like in your time?”
“A major world power, especially in technology,” Toshiko replied. “The old ways...well your current ways, are still deeply respected and even practiced to a large degree.” It was Toshiko’s turn to glance around to see if anyone was listening. “The old ways still thrive nine hundred years from now from what I’ve seen,” she added.
Fumiko nodded sagely. “Customs define a people,” she stated. “It’s good that they survive.”
They walked in silence the rest of the way. Once at the house, they slipped out of their geta and went looking for the Doctor and Kishi. They found the men in the studio, preparing the first block for printing. “You have broken her heart Kishi,” Fumiko called out as she and Toshiko found a place to get comfortable. “She has daimyo lined up to meet you and everything.”
“Daimyo?” Kishi snorted. “You saved me Doctor. Those bastards are so boring!”
“And poor if I’ve been invited over to entertain any of them recently,” Fumiko snorted.
“So...what did you tell her?” Kishi asked in a sing song voice.
“A client recommended by the shogun had arrived and demanded your services immediately,” Fumiko replied.
“Remind me to send over my next shunga volume to the shogun,” Kishi laughed. Suddenly he glanced over at the two women, and then to the Doctor. “There’s an idea...”
“Hmm?” The Doctor had his tongue resting on his lip as he concentrated on pressing the first block down onto a piece of paper.
“I’d have to make you look like Nippon-Jin but...” The Doctor glanced up at the artist’s pause. “Would you pose with those lovely blossoms for a sketch or two?” Kishi asked.
“You’re kidding right?” The Doctor laughed. “Not that I don’t want to indulge in your pleasures ladies,” he quickly added to Toshiko and Fumiko. “But you want me to have a good time with those two so you can sketch up some shunga?” he asked Kishi. Kishi grinned and nodded his head vigorously. The Doctor leaned back and scratched the back of his neck. Glancing over at where the two women were relaxing, he smirked. “Sound like a plan?”
Fumiko shrugged. “That’s why I’m hanging out around here,” she stated.
“I get to be immortalised in two ukiyo-e prints?” Toshiko grinned. “Count me in!”
“Sold. When do you want to start?” he asked.
“After dinner,” Kishi replied. “Let’s finish a couple of these first.”
Fumiko excused herself to run a quick errand, leaving Toshiko to watch the very first print being made of her portrait. The first one finished, the Doctor took up a pen and dipped the tip into some red ink. He expertly scrawled along the left hand side of the print, a short story about the Beauty of Shinano in kanji. Once finished, he handed it over to Toshiko for her inspection. She bit her lip as she read the delicate way he had described her in the verse. “Keep it for your private collection,” the Doctor told her with a wink.
Toshiko thanked him and said that she would keep it. “Locked away in a safe!” she laughed.
Fumiko returned and informed them that she had ordered dinner to be brought over to them. “Now...we just need to get ready,” she told Toshiko. Toshiko took Fumiko’s hand as she got up and the two disappeared into the main part of the house. Fumiko had brought Toshiko to a separate bedroom, packed with costumes, wigs, and a small dressing table. Toshiko looked around as Fumiko went to one of the cabinets full of costumes and rooted around. “That’ll do nicely for him,” she said as she pulled out an elaborate men’s kimono.
Setting it aside she turned towards Toshiko and clapped her hands. “Now! Our turn!” The two women searched the various kimonos and each found one they liked. Setting them aside Fumiko took Toshiko over to the dressing table. Kneeling in front of it, Fumiko began by selecting a wig and placing it next to Toshiko. “I can afford not to have my hair done anymore,” Fumiko smirked.
While Fumiko picked a wig out for herself, Toshiko took in her reflection in the mirror. She had butterflies in her stomach as it dawned on her that she was about to dressed up as a proper courtesan. Fumiko then turned Toshiko’s head, so that she was facing the oiran. “Loosen up your yukata so I can get to your shoulders,” Fumiko instructed. With expert skill and speed, Fumiko began applying a light variation of the makeup that oiran and geisha wore.
Toshiko held very still as she was dusted down with a pale powder all over her face and shoulders. Fumiko blended the edges so that they were no longer visible and then reached for the next powder. This time it was a deep rich crimson, which Fumiko applied in various strengths to give a depth of colour and shading. Toshiko held very still as Fumiko painted her lips with the powder mixed in some water. Fumiko finished the look off with a thick black paste made from ash that she used to line Toshiko’s eyes and eyebrows.
Fumiko placed the wig she had selected for Toshiko, on her head and adjusted it a little. “All done,” Fumiko said and Toshiko cracked an eye open. The process had taken ten minutes at most. Toshiko turned to look at her reflection and gaped. She couldn’t even recognise herself in the mirror. Fumiko placed a finger under Toshiko’s chin and pushed up to close her mouth. “Courtesans do not gape,” she teased, before applying her own make up.
Toshiko watched as Fumiko quickly did up her own face. The transformation was amazing. Fumiko’s easy going manner slipped a little to the more formal mannerisms of an oiran. Finished, Fumiko placed her own wig on and briefly adjusted it so that it sat perfectly. They both stood up from the table and went to change their clothes. “Just use one inner robe under your kimono,” Fumiko instructed. “If you look closely at shunga, you’ll notice that there are only one or two inner robes...if they’re wearing anything at all.”
“Okay,” Toshiko replied. She selected a deep red robe to go with the dark blue kimono she had picked out. Fumiko wrapped and adjusted the kimono appropriately before tying an obi on that matched the red inner robe. Fumiko then put her own robe and kimono on, adjusting them accordingly. Toshiko helped her with the obi and Fumiko smiled.
“Very good,” she complimented. “I wasn’t sure if you would know how to properly tie it or not,” Fumiko confessed.
“I did say that the culture still thrives in my time,” Toshiko said. “I have a particular fascination with kimono and know quite a bit about how to wear them.”
Fumiko had obviously fallen more into proper oiran mode when she only smiled demurely instead of laughing with Toshiko. Toshiko managed a small smirk before giving in and laughing. “Now it’s his turn,” Fumiko said, suggesting the Doctor with an elegant nod of her head. Fumiko paused in front of a small shrine and bowed, Toshiko followed suit before they went to fetch the Doctor.
While Fumiko had fallen back to her more formal mannerisms, she hadn’t entirely lost the relaxed manner that she’d shown Toshiko earlier. “Oi gaijin?” she called out.
“Eh?” The Doctor looked up and his jaw dropped.
Fumiko turned slightly to Toshiko. “While it is unbecoming for a courtesan to gape, it is perfectly normal for a mere man to...they are less refined beasts after all,” she teased.
Toshiko held a hand to her face to cover the smirk. “That’s better,” Fumiko commented. “Only show a suggestion of emotion.”
Turning her attention back to the Doctor she clapped her hands. “Come on! I have to make you somewhat presentable and we don’t have all day!” she commanded. The Doctor rose to his feet and followed the two back to the bedroom. Fumiko had him sit before the dressing table. “It will help Kishi greatly if you look more Nippon-Jin,” she stated as she got out the black paste from earlier and thinned it out with some water.
“Strip,” Fumiko ordered and the Doctor grinned, removing his clothes quickly and efficiently. “Definitely one of the bigger ones,” she commented before turning to Toshiko and asking for a damp towel. “Now hold still,” Fumiko commanded the Doctor. She started with a thin brush and painted his eyebrows and sideburns. She swapped out brushes for a larger one that she used to place a large dollop of the colour in his hair. Folding her sleeves back, she used her hands to slick his hair back and spread out the colour. Fumiko applied a little more of the colour to even out the tone and then used a thick comb to smooth the Doctor’s wild hair out.
Taking the towel from Toshiko, she used it to wash the colour from her hands. “Your outfit is sitting on the stool there. Wait a few minutes for the colour to dry before getting dressed please,” Fumiko said, smiling sweetly.
“How easy does this stuff wash out?” he asked, moving his eyebrows up and down.
“Very easily,” Fumiko answered. “Be glad that the rest of it is already dark,” she added suggesting the rest of his body hair. “We’ll wait for you in the studio,” Fumiko said as she turned to leave. Toshiko winked at the Doctor as she turned to follow.
Their dinner had arrived and Kishi had set up the table so they could eat. The Doctor came out, fully dressed and Kishi gave him an odd look. “That’ll help a lot actually...”
He nodded towards Fumiko. “That’s what she said.” They talked as they ate, sharing stories and experiences. Kishi learned that Toshiko was from the future and smiled appreciatively, happy that his work was still well known in her time. “So how are we doing this?” The Doctor asked as they finished their meal.
Kishi clapped his hands together before answering. “I’ll have you sitting with the girls as they entertain you and you three can take it from there.”
Fumiko led Toshiko and the Doctor to a corner of the studio that was set up as an ochaya. The Doctor lay against some pillows as Fumiko brought out a tea service from beneath the low table next to him. She then retrieved a bottle of very fine sake that she also had hidden under the table and filled the three cups with it. Setting the bottle aside, out of view from Kishi, she bid Toshiko to kneel next to the Doctor as she did so by his legs.
As the three were drinking and loosening up their inhibitions, Kishi got out his inks, brushes, and several sheets of paper. He settled into a comfortable position and looked up just as the trio before him began getting intimate with each other. Shrugging he started to sketch.
The Doctor had pulled Toshiko to him and started kissing her passionately. Fumiko watched with a bemused expression before running her hand along the Doctor’s leg. He groaned and grabbed her hand before she could pull it out of his reach. Fumiko playfully tugged but he refused to let go. Breaking away from Toshiko for a moment he fixed Fumiko with a smouldering look. “You did say you wanted to give me a work out.”
“That I did,” she replied softly. “But why rush? You’ll be spent before too long.”
“Two hearts. Really good stamina. And brilliant recovery time. Try me,” he challenged.
“If you insist Time Lord,” Fumiko replied saucily. She smirked when he groaned as she cupped him through his clothes.
Toshiko giggled as she watched the exchange then yelped when he grabbed her and pulled her closer, a hand slipping beneath the fabric on her shoulder. She helped him as he loosened her obi to gain better access to her skin and groaned when his mouth latched onto one of her nipples. Kishi set aside the first sketch he’d done and looked up just then. He quickly started sketching again as things heated up in front of him.
Fumiko had opened the front of his kimono and smiled to herself before lowering her lips to his penis. Toshiko glanced over to the side and watched as Fumiko elicited a litany of groans and curses from the Doctor. “He has a thing for teeth,” she suggested and Fumiko waved her hand to let her know that she had gotten the message. Pushing his foreskin back, Fumiko gently nibbled the head of his penis. She looked up when she heard a hand slam down onto the floor and smirked. Releasing him for a moment she looked up at Toshiko and thanked her. As she did, she rubbed the head of his penis against her neck, causing him to groan again.
Kishi had finished the second sketch and got ready to start a third. “Fumi-chan, open your kimono up like the other two,” he instructed. Fumiko did as he’d asked and leaned over the Doctor to give him a good view.
“Oh those are nice,” Toshiko said, complimenting the oiran’s breasts.
“So are yours,” Fumiko replied. She purred when the Doctor reached up to fondle one.
Toshiko smirked and reached out for the other and Fumiko shifted forward so she could return the favour. Soon the two women were kissing passionately over the Doctor. He watched for a few minutes before placing his hands on Fumiko’s hips and guiding her back a bit. Fumiko reached down between her thighs and held herself open as the Doctor slid into her.
As Fumiko began riding him, he guided Toshiko so that she was knelt over him, her opening directly above his mouth. Her head fell back in ecstasy as his tongue teased her mercilessly. A few minutes later both women had reached orgasmic states and still the Doctor wanted more. Coming off their highs, Toshiko and Fumiko leaned forward to kiss each other as the Doctor milked more pleasure from them.
By now Kishi had finished ten separate sketches of the trio cavorting before him. He decided on two more before he would call it quits; a full set of shunga in just one sitting. He would do more detailed ones later, altering little things here and there so that it looked like he’d had several groups pose instead of just the one.
The Doctor murmured against Toshiko sending her over the edge again. She sat back to hear what he had tried to say. He merely thanked her as he sat up and shifted to his knees, laying Fumiko down on the floor. They both shifted until they were comfortable then the Doctor started thrusting into Fumiko in earnest. Toshiko lay beside Fumiko, kissing her and fondling wherever she could get her hands. The oiran lasted two minutes before screaming in pleasure.
As Fumiko came down from her high, she shared kisses with Toshiko. Years of experience also let her manipulate her muscles to finally bring the Doctor to orgasm. He slipped out of her in his eagerness and spilled his release all over Fumiko’s abdomen. Toshiko ran her fingers through it and traced little patterns on Fumiko’s skin.
The Doctor thrust a few more time before gently laying on top of Fumiko and taking turns kissing her and Toshiko.
Much too both women’s delight the Doctor recovered quickly from his release and started rocking against Fumiko again. She got him to push up a bit so she could slip out from beneath him, he pouted until he saw that she wanted to watch him with Toshiko. Deciding to let her set the pace, the Doctor rolled onto his back and Toshiko straddled him. Fumiko smirked as she moved so that he had full access to her with his mouth.
Again the two women leaned forward to kiss and fondle each other, as Toshiko rode the Doctor gently. Fumiko reached forward and fondled them where they were joined, causing both of them to groan. The Doctor’s groaning sent little vibrations through Fumiko caused her to moan against Toshiko’s mouth. Toshiko pulled back a little as her orgasm began to build and bit her lip. Fumiko leaned in and nibbled and sucked her way across her chest. Toshiko’s head dropped so that she was resting her forehead against Fumiko as wave after wave of pleasure crashed through her.
Fumiko sat back as Toshiko got off the Doctor to lie beside him. Toshiko took him in her hand and started to stroke along his length, alternating her movements every once in a while. Fumiko watched and laughed when she saw some of the things that Toshiko was doing to the Doctor. “I’ll have to try that one,” she said softly as she watched Toshiko slide one hand after the other down his length.
The Doctor took hold of Fumiko’s hips and lifted her up for a moment. “Trust me...that feels really bloody good!” Fumiko laughed until he flicked his tongue out and lapped against her opening.
“So does that,” she replied as she started to pant. He chuckled, which caused her to whimper. “I really need you to give some of my regular clients’ lessons on how to do that,” Fumiko moaned as she tumbled into oblivion yet again.
“He has quite the oral fixation,” Toshiko said as Fumiko moved over to join her.
Fumiko glanced back at him and grinned. “I think I’m going to like this body then,” she commented before returning her attentions to his straining penis. As if to prove Toshiko’s comment true, the Doctor reached for one of her feet and started sucking and nibbling on her toes. Toshiko was stroking the base of his penis and teasing the tip with her tongue, as was Fumiko. Fumiko slid her tongue along his length before pausing midway to suck on him. Toshiko took him into her mouth and the two quickly brought the Doctor to orgasm. Toshiko and Fumiko greedily lapping up his release as it spilled from. Sated, the three of them shifted so that they all lay together, the Doctor between Toshiko and Fumiko. Hands drifted across skin as tongues playfully teased each other.
After a while, they decided to get up and get cleaned off, they saw that Kishi was no longer in the studio with them. They found him soaking in a large tub outside. “I was wondering if you three were ever going to stop,” he teased as they cleaned off before joining him in the soaking tub. Toshiko and Fumiko noticed that it was getting dark and looked at the Doctor in surprise when he told them that they had been at it for almost two hours. “By the time I was finished, I had a full set of shunga for a whole volume...and that was some time ago,” Kishi laughed. The four of them relaxed long into the summer evening, the sounds of the Yoshiwara night life drifting gently over the garden wall.
The following morning Fumiko woke to see Toshiko getting dressed. The Doctor was on his stomach still sound asleep. Fumiko quickly got dressed and the two wandered out to find Kishi. He was busy preparing printing blocks with an apprentice that had arrived earlier. The youth greeted the two with a warm smile before returning to his work.
“Breakfast,” Fumiko stated. “And if they’re good girls, they’ll have it ready at the seiro.”
Toshiko chuckled as she walked with Fumiko to the front door to fetch her geta. After telling Kishi where they’d be, they left. They arrived just as Hiroko came running up with a large grin plastered on her face. Bowing to each other, Fumiko then ushered the two into the seiro and the dining area, where there was a full banquet of choices for them.
“Miyuki know you’re wandering about?” Fumiko asked before taking a sip of her miso shiru.
“She won’t be up for while,” the maiko replied around a mouthful of rice. “She had to make it up to her daimyo guests last night.”
“She really had to make it up to them,” Hiroko teased with a waggle of her eyebrows.
“Those poor bastards,” Fumiko laughed. “You’re up late,” she added as Kiyo wandered in, yawning and stretching.
“Hai, Kamamura-san was here until dawn,” Kiyo replied with a wan smile.
“Kamamura-san is one of her many boyfriends,” Fumiko explained teasingly to Toshiko.
Kiyo shrugged as she joined them. “I can’t complain, he pays well,” she said before helping herself to some breakfast. Toshiko and Hiroko laughed while Kiyo winked suggestively.
“Alright! Details Hee-chan! I want to know just how bad it went,” Fumiko stated.
“Oh where to begin!” Hiroko sighed dramatically.
“Wait! Which daimyo?” Fumiko asked.
“Ikeda-san,” Hiroko replied.
“Broke,” Fumiko and Kiyo said in unison. Toshiko burst out laughing at the way they had said it so deadpan.
“And Koji-san,” Hiroko said, having ticked off each name on a finger.
“Bankrupting him next week!” the two prostitutes replied in unison.
Toshiko had her arms folded on the table and was leaning on them, howling in laughter as the three finished naming names and declaring their financial status. Hiroko looked over at her and laughed. “Those two are very popular with the daimyo,” she said, which just caused Toshiko to laugh even more.
“So, the daimyo show up and Miyuki spent a good five minutes in a full bow. ‘Gomenasai, gomenasai’!” Hiroko said, doing a very poor impression of the geisha. Kiyo snorted while Fumiko smirked. Toshiko had tears in her eyes at this point from laughing.
“She then spent another five minutes or so, telling them how her good friend Utamaro-san had a very important client! Sent to him by the shogun himself! That Utamaro-san just had to attend to, and that he extends his deepest apologies for missing the great honour of meeting four fine daimyo,” Hiroko added. “So I hope Kishi-chan has some new work to show them when they come to investigate to find out why he snubbed them last night.”
Fumiko and Toshiko glanced at each other before howling in laughter. Kiyo gave the pair a look and Hiroko hid a fit of the giggles behind her hand. “He does, doesn’t he?”
“A full volume thanks to us last night,” Toshiko managed to get out between laughing fits.
“A full volume? Wow...” Kiyo muttered.
Fumiko gestured towards Toshiko with a nod. “She’s a friend of the Doctor.” Kiyo burst out laughing while it was Hiroko’s turn to look confused. “The Doctor is an old friend of this seiro...and Kishi too,” Fumiko explained.
“And he has some insatiable appetites,” Toshiko added.
“Oh, yes, he does,” Kiyo added.
“You should see this new body, whew!” Fumiko stated. “Trust me, that tongue can go for days!” Hiroko had the decency to blush as Fumiko went into detail a little.
“Maiko! Not shinzo!” Hiroko blurted out, waving her hand at them and laughing.
“The way you make it out, I wonder...” Fumiko teased.
“Hai, didn’t you say Miyuki had to make it up to the daimyo last night?” Kiyo reminded her. “Sounds like the old hag forgot she was geisha and not one of our yujo.”
“She’d never be a yujo in this seiro,” Fumiko snorted.
Hiroko hid her face in her hands as she laughed. Toshiko patted the girl on the shoulder as she laughed with her. “Anyway!” Hiroko stated, trying to get back to the conversations’ main topic. She was interrupted by one of the other girls leading a guest into the dining room.
“You are always welcome here,” she stated, smiling sweetly to the man.
“Aw, bless, thank you so much,” he replied as she bowed and left. “Morning ladies, I hear breakfast here is divine!” he said, removing his sugegasa.
Hiroko stared as Fumiko made room for the Doctor at the table. “Hee-chan, this is the Doctor we were talking about,” she said. “Doctor, this is Morimoto Hiroko, Miyuki’s senior most maiko.”
“But...” Hiroko stammered. She’d never seen a gaijin before and wondered how he’d managed to move about without being deported or executed. The Doctor gave her a sly look before producing the letter of permission he had from the shogun.
“Ienari is a mate of mine,” he told her, waggling his eyebrows at her. Hiroko read it and apologised for her rudeness towards him. “Nah, just a bit of culture shock is all,” he said waving it off. “Oh ta, love,” he addressed Kiyo as she handed over a bowl of miso shiru.
“I don’t know, Fumi-chan...This one’s skinny,” Kiyo said as she studied him.
“Trust me, he’s good!”
“Maiko...” Hiroko muttered as the prostitutes were about to start up again.
“I’m neither geisha nor yujo, but I’m with them,” Toshiko told her, causing Hiroko to blush profusely.
“Oh, come on. Leave the poor girl alone,” the Doctor teased. “So if you work for Miyuki, I understand that you might have some good gossip about last night?” he said addressing Hiroko. “How much have I missed?”
“Who showed up and how poor these two have left them recently.” Toshiko said with a laugh, nodding towards Fumiko and Kiyo. The two women waggled their eyebrows as they ate and the Doctor laughed.
“So, like I was saying,” Hiroko started. “Since their extravagant tastes have left three of them hopelessly poor, and the guest of honour had managed to ditch them, Miyuki had to swallow the cost of the evening.”
“Oh, that couldn’t have happened to a nicer person,” Fumiko laughed.
“And Hashiba-san obviously got confused, thinking ochaya meant seiro, so Miyuki got to play with him after the others left,” Hiroko finished.
“See? Told you he doesn’t have any taste,” Kiyo said around a mouthful of rice. She swallowed before sticking her tongue out to Fumiko.
“I already knew that,” Fumiko chuckled, playfully swatting at Kiyo.
Toshiko winced as she tried to picture what Hiroko had described. “Oh that can’t have been nice.”
“Hashiba-san?” The Doctor asked.
“Hashiba Shiro.” Hiroko replied.
“Oh ouch! He’s no oil painting himself,” the Doctor grimaced.
“That breath definitely needs some work,” Kiyo muttered. “And the cock eyes doesn’t help much either.”
“And he’s little,” Fumiko added, holding her thumb and forefinger a few centimetres apart.
“Going by the racket he made with Miyuki last night, it was big enough,” Hiroko said with a shudder.
“I had a good time last night. I had a good time last night. I had a good time last night,” the Doctor muttered under his breath. He glanced up and saw all four women looking at him curiously. “I’m trying not to lose my appetite.” They roared in laughter as he repeated his mantra a few more times.
They spent another hour or so eating and conversing before a girl came in to tell Hiroko that Miyuki was up and would be looking for her soon. Hiroko hurried up and finished her breakfast, before rising and bowing to the others. “A pleasure meeting you Doctor and Toshiko, and thank you for breakfast,” she said before taking off back to her mistress.
Fumiko leaned over and glanced out the door to see that it was nearing noon outside. “We better go back before Kishi thinks we abandoned him,” she said as she rose from the table. The others rose as well and Kiyo yawned and stretch one last time.
“Right! Time to accept the loving donations of desperately horny men!” Kiyo said, before hurrying off to the front of the seiro.
“We’ll leave through the back,” Fumiko suggested as the Doctor searched around before finding his sugegasa and putting it on.
They returned to find Kishi and his apprentice finishing up one of the prints he’d made from the sketches he'd done the night before. The pair had already finished several copies of the print that showed the Doctor, on his back with Fumiko riding him and Toshiko being treated to the expertise of his mouth. Kishi had set three of them aside and personally signed them. He handed Toshiko, Fumiko, and the Doctor a copy each which they thanked him for.
Toshiko put her copy with the print the Doctor had given her the day before, which he had written the lovely verse on. Kishi rooted around and found two thin boards and placed the prints between them. He then bound them with an elegant silk cord and handed them back to Toshiko. “Thank you so much,” she said, leaning over and kissing his cheek.
“You are most welcome,” Kishi replied, grinning. “It has been a pleasure and an honour to meet you,” he added.
“Well we better be off,” the Doctor said. “Thanks for having us Kishi. And thank you for printing those off for me!”
“You’re always welcome here,” Kishi said and the two men bowed to each other before throwing decorum aside and hugging each other.
Toshiko bowed before Fumiko as she bid her farewells. “Thank you so much for letting me indulge in your world,” she offered with great humility.
“An honour Sato Toshiko,” Fumiko replied, returning the bow. “Oi...” she growled as the Doctor took her hand in his.
“Always a delight Harada Fumiko,” he said, placing a kiss on her hand.
“It always is with you,” she replied saucily.
The Doctor grabbed a handful of yukata and pulled Fumiko in for a deep passionate kiss before releasing her. Fumiko reached down to his loins and gently squeezed him through his clothes, waggling her eyebrows at him. Kishi rolled his eyes and groaned while Toshiko laughed at the two.
Toshiko and the Doctor said a final goodbye and left. Once in the TARDIS, the Doctor thanked Toshiko for time they’d had and she grinned. He landed in her flat in present day Cardiff and helped her bring all of her recent acquisitions inside. Toshiko carefully put them all away before joining the Doctor for a cup of tea. They talked for a while before the Doctor bid her goodnight and left.
Jack was leaning against the wall and staring at the Doctor as he finished his story. “You mean to tell me that you are friends with a shogun. He lets you wander around during the seclusion period, and you use that freedom to make friends with an artist and a brothel?”
“And you took Toshiko to meet them all?”
“She had a ball,” the Doctor said softly.
“So I can see,” Jack said, jerking his thumb to the shunga print. “I know that one is you,” he added referring to the man in the print. “Which one’s which?”
“Toshiko’s the one in blue, and Fumiko is the one in orange,” the Doctor replied. He suddenly excused himself to use the bathroom.
Jack walked over to the second portrait of Toshiko and scrutinised the writing along the side. He swallowed hard as he read it. The Doctor had described Toshiko perfectly in his verse.
“Intelligent and wise,
Beautiful and kind,
The shining maiden of Shinano.”
Edo: Former name of Tokyo, seat of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo period.
Yoshiwara: The red light district of Edo. Class distinctions were heavily blurred in Yoshiwara and the other red light districts of the time. A merchant could be treated as an equal to a samurai if he had the money. Samurai were generally prohibited from entering the red light districts, but they would anyway. They had to leave their weaponry at the front gate though.
Sexuality during the feudal era was more open and widely accepted than it is today. While prostitutes were required to remain within the pleasure district walls most of the time, they were allowed to venture out on holidays and to tend to their families in emergencies. Same sex relationships were also common and no one looked down upon them.
Yukata: A simple cotton robe worn for bathing. If worn with an obi it can pass as more formal dress in summer. By more formal, meaning it can be worn in public. In onsen and bath houses it is usually secured with a simple rope belt.
Obi: Broad belt used to tie yukata or kimono, usually made of silk or cotton. Geisha and single woman wear their obi with the knot tied in the back. Tied in the front is reserved for married women and prostitutes.
Geta: Traditional wooden sandals worn with kimono.
Jinbei: Short tunic worn by men around the house.
Sugegasa: Japanese name for the simple conical straw hats worn across Asia.
Ukiyo-e: Or Ukiyoe means ‘images of the floating world’. An art style that gained popularity during the Edo period. Ukiyo-e prints are woodblock prints that could be mass produced for the growing mercantile class of the time. Popular subjects were geisha, actors, warriors and landscapes. A second meaning ‘images from the pleasure quarters’ was used for the sub genre of erotic ukiyo-e that was also popular.
Shunga: Genre of ukiyo-e that centred on the erotic. Samurai would carry shunga for good luck. Shunga was perfectly acceptable to have in the home as it is believed to have warded off bad spirits.
Kitagawa Utamaro: One of the most famous and successful ukiyo-e artists of all time. He also worked a great deal with shunga. I portrayed him the way I did in this story because his biography suggests that he preferred a sketch pad between him and a woman...if you catch my drift.
-chan: An endearment that means ‘little’. Used by parents towards their children, or between close friends.
-san: Honorific used for both males and females when attached to their family name. The same as ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ is used in English.
Oiran: The highest rank of prostitute or courtesan in the feudal era. Only men of great wealth could afford their services, and oiran were occasionally known as ‘castle breakers’, because of the exorbitant amount they could charge their customers. A customer invited an oiran to his place, they were forbidden from going to the oiran. People in the red light districts were often witness to ‘The Oiran’s parade’, the name for the procession of an oiran and her attendants as she went to do business with a customer.
Oiran were skilled in music, dance, and conversation. They were also very elegant and refined in their mannerisms. Like geisha, they wore elaborate costumes, make up, and hairstyles. Unlike geisha, they did work the sex trade. Oiran would not have behaved the way I have Fumiko portrayed, in public. I wrote her as relaxing and letting her hair down, in this.
Geisha: Geisha evolved from the oiran and were highly skilled entertainers. However, unlike the oiran, they did not engage in sexual acts with their customers. Geisha provide their customers with a fantasy that the customer understands is just that...a fantasy. Geisha roughly translates to artist, which they are. Geisha and oiran in the Edo period were also trend setters. Their fashion was copied all over Japan. There were also male geisha, known as otoko geisha.
Tayu: The second highest rank of prostitute. A tayu would accompany an oiran on her visit to a customer and fill in for the oiran if the customer could not meet the oiran’s price.
Yujo: Women of pleasure, prostitute.
Shinzo: Senior female student at a seiro.
Maiko: An apprentice geisha.
Okaasan: ‘Mother’, also the title of an ochaya manager, who is normally a high ranking geisha.
Hinin: “Non human”, the lowest of the low in the social ranking of the time. It was perfectly acceptable to kill hinin without just cause in the feudal era. Hinin usually worked as gatekeepers and manual labourers.
Danna: A patron of a geisha. Danna are wealthy men who would sponsor a geisha to help cover the very expensive costs associated with the geisha profession. In the story, Fumiko uses the term to explain her working relationship with Kishi.
Daimyo: Lieutenants of the shogun.
Nippon-Jin: Japanese for ‘a person of Japanese descent.’
Gaijin: A non Japanese person, a foreigner.
Miso shiru: is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock known as dashi, which is mixed softened miso paste. Other ingredients are added depending on the region or time of year.
Hai: Yes in Japanese.
Ochaya: Tea house. Ochayas are a popular place for geisha to entertain their guests. You have to be invited to an ochaya by the okaasan; you can’t just show up at one.
Seiro: Brothel. The lowest ranks of prostitutes would sit in the front window on display. A customer would negotiate a price with the prostitute and be invited inside to fulfil the contract.