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The CRAZY Ways Japanese Courtesans Dealt With Pregnancies

Jun 29, 2023
There are many complications that come with getting pregnant, and as a man, I think I'm uniquely qualified to talk about them. In the Edo period in Japan, for ladies of the night in the pleasure districts, getting pregnant was considered quite rude to their peers and their brothel. But they had many different


of dealing with it. Let's start by talking about the tamer practices and move on to the extreme ones that will make you spit out those ramen noodles. Unfortunately, the most extreme practices were the most common. Licensed prostitutes were called yūjō 遊女. If they became pregnant, their bosses yelled at them and even beat them.
the crazy ways japanese courtesans dealt with pregnancies
Getting pregnant was a big problem for the yūjō because they couldn't work. Nothing deflated a client's enthusiasm more than having the façade of erotic glamor shattered by a swollen belly. Reality is a fly in the wine glass of lust. And what do you do when a fly lands on your wine? You quickly pick it up and yell, "Spit it out, thief!" Pregnancies also led to health problems such as depression, childbirth, and being beaten by her boss. A yūjō could be out of commission for months, costing the brothel that sweet cash and forcing his colleagues to pick up work.
the crazy ways japanese courtesans dealt with pregnancies

More Interesting Facts About,

the crazy ways japanese courtesans dealt with pregnancies...

That's why all yūjō had a doctorate in contraception and a master's degree in swallowing. Water. These are some of the methods they used. Certified techniques, seven days a week. The rinse method. After seeing a customer, a yūjō would scoop out and rinse any remaining juice from the customer down there. The bamboo paper method, where you folded a piece of bamboo paper and just stuck it in there. Simple. Some women used this strategically to discourage a customer they didn't like from returning, because many men didn't like the feeling of their little man being crushed by a piece of paper.
the crazy ways japanese courtesans dealt with pregnancies
It wasn't the kind of grinding they were expecting. Other women rewarded customers they liked by not using the bamboo paper method. So if it's slippery down there, it means she likes you or she's on her period. The Moxa method. Moxa is a plant called mugwort. The plant is crushed, a few piles are placed under the navel and burned. It is supposed to prevent pregnancy; in some cases, for almost an entire year. No, it really works. You see, if you get pregnant, you are guaranteed not to get pregnant again for almost an entire year. The horned condom method, in which the client used an animal horn to cover his own horny horn.
the crazy ways japanese courtesans dealt with pregnancies
I guess they were mostly ox horns. This method was not very popular with either the client or the yūjō. There were cases of people using softer material. Surprisingly, their impeccable, airtight birth control methods didn't al


work. Sometimes a determined tadpole, similar to Naruto, who never gave up, would slide through the bamboo. So how did they deal with this? In many different ways that we will talk about now. So pull up your panties, do some stretches and get ready. The natural solution was to give birth. This was not the norm, but it was not uncommon either.
Taking that baby out of the womb was risky. Women prayed to survive childbirth. Techniques to encourage easy childbirth included spells, holding a seahorse during childbirth, and drinking medicine from a seashell. They had these establishments that catered to female artists until they were well enough to go back to work. Yujōs gave birth there and stayed for some time afterwards. These places also cared for yūjōs who were sick or who terminated their


. Of course, most of the female artists couldn't stay in a nice place to relax and recover. It was only for high-status ladies, those whose bodies attracted coins like hot tubs attract Twitch streamers.
Sometimes the mother chose to keep her baby. Usually only high-class


took this path because they had rich, long-term clients who were happy to help support the child, anything to keep the mother away from that bamboo paper box. The brothel could choose to care for the child. The girls were trained as children's assistants and became future cheerleaders. The children were raised to work in the brothel, such as cooking, cleaning, and helping the yūjō escape a rotten life. Some boys even grew up to become male entertainers, like geishas. However, it was more common for babies to be put up for adoption.
Most women couldn't support a child and brothels generally didn't think it was worth it. Wait, what about the father? you say. The parents were not bothered. Were there any exceptions where the father came back and picked up the baby? Sure, and sometimes a woman swipe your profile, but usually this doesn't happen. Furthermore, the father had no rights over the child, although there were not many clients willing to come forward. No, the baby's fate was something the brothel had to deal with. Fun fact: Most


occurred because the yūjō fooled around with a co-worker instead of a client.
All that being said, raising the child or giving him up for adoption rarely happened. What people did much more frequently was abort the pregnancy. It was very common. Back then people had different views on what it meant to be a person. In the first half of pregnancy, the fetus was not yet considered human, so terminating the pregnancy in the first 4 months or so was no big deal from a moral point of view. In the second half, people started calling him a boy, so ending a pregnancy in the second half...wasn't a big deal morally either. In fact, most of the time pregnancies ended in the second half.
Now it wasn't because people were in favor of the right to choose. They didn't think in those terms. In reality, mothers had no choice, as we will see later. Children were considered not completely of this world, not completely human, as if they had one foot in the spirit world and one foot in the human world. I talk about this idea in another video here if you want to check it out. So returning a child to the spirit world was not morally wrong. For a yūjō, it was a normal event. Sometimes he would swallow a drug.
If he had done it early enough before his belly grew too big, no one would have noticed. But if she was very advanced, things became more complicated. The woman was laid down, bound and gagged to prepare for the pain. Another person prepared a drug mixture made up of a bunch of plant parts. For example, they would mix some powdered betel nut, boiled mint leaves and a pinch of mercury in a bowl. Some other possible ingredients were cherry root, lye, red chili and pomegranate peel, oh and also mercury, they are also mercury, there is usually mercury. Now I won't be graphic in case you're eating ramen, but the operation involved the use of a tool that looked like long chopsticks.
Check the description if you want to read it in more detail. Books on these techniques were widely distributed. Remember they didn't have small cameras or Dr. House. They couldn't see what was happening up there. It was a dangerous procedure. There was a risk of infection, of perforating the woman's insides, oh and also of mercury. Luckily there was a safer option for the woman. This option was used as much as terminating the pregnancy, if not more. That's right, she could give birth and then kill the baby. Giving birth had its own risks, but it was still safer than aborting the pregnancy, even though the baby might not agree.
After a midwife successfully helped deliver a baby, it was customary for her to ask a question: "Do you want me to keep the baby or give it back?" "Returned" meant sending the baby back to the spirit world as if the gods had a return policy, where she would wait for another opportunity to re-enter the world somewhere else. The usual methods were suffocation or suffocation. Now the mother was allowed to say that she wanted to keep him. And she wouldn't have made any difference. It didn't depend on her, it depended on her manager or the owner of the brothel.
They probably considered the mother's wishes, but at the end of the day, it was her business decision. Raising a child was expensive. They had to think not only about profits, but about the well-being of all workers. If the business failed, it would have hurt everyone. Another common decision for brothels was: One. Terminate a yūjō's pregnancy so that she can return to work early. Great risk to her health. Or two. Let her carry the pregnancy to term and then return the baby. Less risky, but you lose a few months of income. Surprisingly, it seemed that mothers generally agreed with this.
Most people did not consider it morally wrong. Returning the newborn immediately after birth was common, even for mothers who did not work in the social sector. People thought that a fetus and a newborn were more or less the same, in the same category. Since they were okay with ending a fetus, they were okay with ending a newborn. It was wild. Some people even thought that fathers who sold their daughters to a brothel were much worse than fathers who killed their daughters at birth, because the former were basically fathers who raised their daughters for money. They sold their children as products.
Now, all this did not mean that the yūjō did not care about their children. If they decided to keep the baby, they would love him as much as parents do today. If they decided to keep it. In the second half of the Edo period, these opinions began to change, perhaps because at that time there was a problem with the population not growing. People became more vocal against the constant sending back of babies. Texts against baby killing appeared, arguing the advantages of not killing babies. Some regions banned the practice, but punishments are usually light. Like you have to pay some money.
Unlike today, the public then considered killing a baby to be a much less serious crime than killing an adult. Adults were more attached to the human world. There is now some debate among people with big brains about exactly how common it was to abort and return babies. Recent studies suggest that it may have been common only in northeastern Japan, and less so in the rest of the country. We're not sure who's right, so we'll let their brains battle it out. For more related topics, watch these videos, see you there. Today we have some new Patreon patrons, Sorey I Forgive You, IvyAlyse Sounds Like an Elvish Name, Kels is Cool, Corrie Robinson the Name of an Adventurer, Anastasia the Best Part of Asia, and Dylan Jade the Fearless.
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