Saikaku and Sharebon

Part of our discussion today in class about the movie Sakuran was that several aspects could be considered unrealistic. One such aspect was the fact that the main character, Kiyoha, was able to work her way up through the ranks to eventually become the head oiran even though she brazenly rejected patrons and was constantly difficult to almost everybody. The fact that this aspect would have been unrealistic was emphasized in the Saikaku reading, which I thought was interesting. The reading was from the point of view of a prostitute who used her own experiences to give tips and tricks to being successful. One such tip is that courtesans cannot afford to be too picky when it comes to who their patrons were. Saikaku states  “… a courtesan can only afford to dislike a man while she herself is in great favor…” and that “Such women bring trouble on their masters and disregard their own standing in the world” (Saikaku 148 and 139). Many courtesans were sold into their position because of monetary trouble, and so most of them physically could not afford to turn away paying customers. These quotes emphasize the fact that prostitution functioned as their job and that ultimately, money is money no matter what (or who) it takes to earn it.

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