The Costume Museum Kyoto Japan Costume History in Japan
The Edo Period  
142 - Shimabara Tayu, a most high class prostitute in Shimabara, Kyoto.
The Costume Museum Kyoto JapanThe Costume Museum Kyoto Japan

1 Kohgai
2 Ohgushi
3 Maebira
4 Uchikake
5 Obi
6 Nakagi
The "Tayu" is the title of the office and rank which imitated the Chinese system originally. It is an official status equivalent to the 5th-court-ranking. By the Imperial Court, a "tenjoh-bito" Mr. saint deserves it. In the Edo period, it is a status equivalent to a daimyo. It was used as an entertainer's title. The "Tayu" came to be used to call a high-class prostitute in the Edo era. Since Shimabara of Kyoto, the zone where the circumference was restricted and the horehouses were gathered, had tradition and prestige, the naming of "Tayu" just meant Shimabara. The horehouse zones of Kyoto in the Ohei period; it was in the Ohei period that The horehouse zones of Kyoto was authorized. The Kujo-no-sato zone was authorized by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. . After the Ohnin War, the zone was moved to the "Nijo-marino-kohji zoze, where were two big willows and the zone was called "Yanagi-machi", the town of willows; even now, the former site of the town is called Baba of a "yanagi-no-banba" willow. The costume of the "Tayu" in Shimabara zone was not the same as that of the present-day's counterpart around that time. From the early stages of the Edo period to the last stage, the costume became more and more gorgeous; the figure of the "Tayu" wears the gorgeous costume around that time. The hair is in the style of "Hyogo" , which has the feeling of Kyoto; the"mae-gami" , the front hair, has large "bekkoh" and eight "kohgai" ornaments. The "ushiro-gami" has six pieces of "mae-bira" ornaments, "tome" ornaments, and the "hana-kanzashi"ornaments; the total weight of ornaments goes as heavy three kirograms. The red "naga-juban" garment and the "kake-eri (=applying a collar)" of white embroidery; the collar is turned up to show a part of the red "naga-juban" garment. The "naka-gi (=middle clothes)", of which skirt is wadded, is in the three-pile style. The top "aida-gi" garment has the so-called "Shimabara-tsuma" embroidered patterns; the pattern has the feature in a way of spreading from the skirt portion to the breast part. The second "aida-gi" garment is in white color, and the third one is in green color; a broad belt is tied in front in the "noshi-musubi (=decorative paper tieing)" form, and a beautiful "uchikake" coat is put on it. The pattern of the "uchikake" garment is not resticted by any rules; the cloth of the black has the "mon-zukuri" patterns. Her feet are bare in conformity with the ancient rite. A pair of lacquered "geta", wooden sandals, of black in color with three tooth are used for in the case of "michiyuki (=going way)" walk on the street. The particular sandals originate in the Bunka or the Bunsei period of Edo era; they are used both in summer and winter season. After the World War II, the authorized prostitution was banned, the present-days's "Tayu" holds the form for tourists and is maintaining the tradition.