The enduring appeal of yobai (night crawling) among Japanese males has made it a popular activity in image clubs (imekura) and, allegedly, as an underground sex service, as was recently reported in the article “Hollowed-out hospital the best little whorehouse on Honshu.”
But how was it way back when? In the 18th installment of his “Edo no Waru Chie” (The naughty knowledge of Edo) series in Shukan Bunshun (March 5), Mikito Ujiie provides extracts from some authentic historical records concerning high-ranking samurai who felt no compunction about forcing themselves on the female household help whenever they felt the urge.
One record from around 1860, called the “Yundo Hogen,” relates a tale of a certain retainer to the shogun, who slipped out of his futon one evening and tiptoed toward the maid’s quarters. In the darkened corridor, he bumped into his elderly father, just emerging from therein.
“You can catch cold easily in this chilly weather if you go to the loo in lightweight sleeping garments, so I thought I’d go now,” the father told him as a pretext.
Apparently back in Edo times, sloppy seconds was no more appreciated than it is today.
“I couldn’t very well go to her right after dad had finished,” the samurai shrugged, “so I returned to the bedroom.”
Another tale of yore, originating from Chikugo province in Kyushu, concerns a daimyo (feudal lord) who devised a surefire method for recruiting feisty maidservants. According to Ujiie, his lordship would invite candidates for employment to sit atop a sheet of thick white paper, of the type used for ceremonial documents. Then they were made to watch a stallion and mare engage in propagative activities.
“Right afterwards he’d look at the paper,” Ujiie writes. “The wetter it was, the more it was assumed that woman had been excited by the equine exhibition. And the one who deposited the most moisture on the paper got the job.”
Source: “Meibugyo mo yobai suru,” Shukan Bunshun (Mar. 5, Page 108)