~~ The Nightless City,
or "The History of the Yoshiwara Yukwaku"
by an English Student of Sociology
~~

(Joseph Ernest De Becker), 1899, First Edition

 
De Becker, Joseph Ernest:
The Nightless City, or the History of the Yoshiwara Yukwaku by an English Student of Sociology, Yokohama, Z.P. Maruya & Co. Ltd., printed by the Yokohama Bunsha, Yokohama, 1899, 1st Edition, small 8vo (6 1/4 x 8 1/4 in - 15.5 x 21 cm), red blindstamped cloth with black and gilt decoration and lettering on covers and spine, cover edges beveled, page edges untrimmed, title page printed in color, 20 plates (9 color, 11 black and white), numerous woodcut text illustrations, 3 page introduction by the author, 441 numbered pages of text and a 22 page appendix. The color plates are well executed chromo-lithographs (5 fold out, 2 double page, 2 single page). Ten of the black and white page are collotypes (3 double page, 7 single page). The 11th black and white plate is a wood engraved plan of the Shin-Yoshiwara (double page). The appendix has several articles including "The Medical Aspect" of the Yoshiwara and is 19 pages (I-XIX) in length. It is followed by three pages of "Kapproe Dance Set to Foreign Music" which has two pages of a musical score. The plate titled "A street scene in the Yoshiwara a hundred years ago" is based upon a drawing by Kitagawa Utamaro.

As much a guide book to the Yoshiwara (red light district) of Tokyo as it is a history. The book traces the history, traditions, customs and practices of the Yoshiwara in great detail. It also contains much practical information such as a map/plan of the new Yoshiwara district, the classes of brothels and prostitutes, the meaning of signs in the district, sundry useful sentences like "don't try and make a fool of me" translated into Japanese, the hiring of a jinrikisha to and from the district and an illustrated section on understanding the "signs and cyphers showing the fees of the courtesans."

This book had great appeal to a wide universe of readers ranging from the sailor on leave in Tokyo to the scholar in an academic setting studying Japanese culture. I suspect that is why it went through several printings over the years.

To see the complete table of contents, click here.

 
Title Page

 
Summary of Plate Types:

 
Listing of Plates (in order presented in the book):

1.   Procession of Courtesans                                 i
2.   The "O-mon" (or entrance gateway) of the Yoshiwara      16
3.   Plan of the Shin-Yoshiwara                              32
4.   Main Street of the Yoshiwara (Naka-no-cho)              48
5.   Ancient "Shirabyoshi"                                   64
6.   "Yobidashi" of the Yoshiwara                            80
7.   Courtesans in their "cages"                            112
8.   Geisha dancing the "Kappore"                           144
9.   Outside of a third-class brothel at night              160
10.  Scenes in a hikite-jaya                                192
11.  A rainy day in the Yoshiwara                           208
12.  Scenes in a brothel                                    224
13.  A street scene in the Yoshiwara a hundred years ago    240
14.  Courtesans making their toilettes                      256
15.  Guests making their toilettes preparatory to
       leaving the house                                    288
16.  Illuminated lanterns in the Naka-no-cho                320
17.  Introduction of Courtesans to Guests                   336
18.  Niwaka-odori procession passing by a tea-house         352
19.  Crowds visiting the "Tori-no-machi"                    384
20.  A Fire in the Yoshiwara                                400

 
All Plates (20)

                                                      Page
Procession of Courtesans *                               i
(chromo-lithograph, 2 folds out, 1 fold up - 34 x 27 cm)


The "O-mon" (or entrance gateway) of the Yoshiwara      16
(collotype, spans 2 pages, 25 x 20.5 cm)


Plan of the Shin-Yoshiwara                              32
(woodcut engraving, spans 2 pages 25 x 20 cm)


Main Street of the Yoshiwara (Naka-no-cho)              48
(collotype, spans 2 pages, 25 x 20.5 cm)



Ancient "Shirabyoshi" *                                 64
(chromo-lithograph, tipped to page 12.5 x 17.5 cm)



"Yobidashi" of the Yoshiwara *                          80
(chromo-lithograph, tipped to page 12.5 x 17.5 cm)



Courtesans in their "cages"                            112
(collotype, spans 2 pages, 25 x 20.5 cm)



Geisha dancing the "Kappore" *                         144
(chromo-lithograph, spans 2 pages, 25 x 20.5 cm)



Outside of a third-class brothel at night *            160
(chromo-lithograph, 2 folds out, 1 fold up, 30 x 23.4cm



Scenes in a hikite-jaya           (actually at 172)    192  
(collotype, single page, 14 x 20.5 cm)



A rainy day in the Yoshiwara                           208
(collotype, single page, 14 x 20.5 cm)



Scenes in a brothel                                    224
(collotype, single page, 14 x 20.5 cm)



A street scene in the Yoshiwara a hundred years ago *  240
copied from a drawing by Kitagawa Utamaro
(chromo-lithograph, spans 2 pages, 25 x 20.5 cm)



Courtesans making their toilettes  *                   256
"Litho Kinko-sha Yokohama Japan"
(chromo-lithograph, 2 folds out, 1 fold up, 30 x 25.2 cm)



Guests making their toilettes preparatory to
leaving the house *                                    288
(chromo-lithograph, 2 folds out, 1 fold up, 31 x 25.7 cm) 


  
Illuminated lanterns in the Naka-no-cho                320
(collotype, single page, 14 x 20.5 cm)



Introduction of Courtesans to Guests *                 336
"Litho Kinko-sha Yokohama Japan"
(chromo-lithograph, 2 folds out, 1 fold up, 30 x 25.4 cm)



Niwaka-odori procession passing by a tea-house         352
(collotype, single page, 14 x 20.5 cm)



Crowds visiting the "Tori-no-machi"                    384
(collotype, single page, 14 x 20.5 cm)



A Fire in the Yoshiwara                                400
(collotype, single page, 14 x 20.5 cm)


*  =  color plate (chromo-lithograph)

 
Colophon at Back

Printed: Meiji 32(1899).6.28
Published: Meiji 32(1899).6.30

 


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