Geishas and the Floating World
Inside Tokyo's Yoshiwara Pleasure District
Stephen Longstreet, Ethel Longstreet, Stephen Mansfield
Geishas and the Floating World returns readers to a lost world of sensuality and seduction, rich with hedonism, abandon, and sexual and personal politics.
"Floating World" refers to Japan's traditional Geisha pleasure districts, but also to the artistic and literary worlds associated with them. At the heart of the "Floating World" and the system it supported was an extensive network of talented courtesans and entertainers, typified by the still fascinating, enigmatic Geisha. Stephen and Ethel Longstreet bring the reader on an in-depth tour of the original and most infamous red-light district in Japan—the Yoshiwara district of old Tokyo that underwent tremendous changes during the more than three centuries of its existence.
Beyond the erotic allure the district held, the Yoshiwara also fostered a rich culture and a much studied and revered artistic and literary tradition. This account is adorned with examples of fine woodblock prints and quotations from often bawdy, and always colorful, original sources that offer a gripping portrait of life within the pleasure zone.
Geishas and the Floating World balances scholarly insights with a master storyteller's flair for the exploits and intrigues of people operating outside the confines of polite society. Stephen Mansfield's new introduction bridges time, examining gender realities and the Yoshiwara through contemporary eyes, highlighting often overlooked subtleties and the harsh realities associated with this glittering world.