Movie "Sakuran", 2006, director: Ninagawa Mika
Sakuran is impressive Japanese movie with Tsuchiya Anna in leading role. Modern, beautiful, easy on the eyes, passionate, and very stimulating it is drawn in bright colors to express the passion and sexuality of the women.
Swayed by passion, choosing love: a young women set on living life her own way.
A young kamuro (maid in a brothel) is sold into the red-light district Yoshiwara and is put under the care of the oiran of the Tamakiku house, Shouhi, who names her Tomeki. The girl is very rebellious, does not cry when punished, is foul-mouthed and bad-mannered, and talks back and even hits the other kamuro. It is because of this that the more experienced people in the household begin to think that she will be one day a great oiran, since an oiran needs not only beauty and talent, but she should also have the tenacity to maintain the position. After that, Tomeki becomes O-Rin, a hikkomi (or prostitute-in-training), and later Kiyoha, the most beautiful girl in the Tamakiku household. Her popularity threatens the position of Tamakiku's oiran Mikumo, which creates great tension and jealousy between the two. But rivalry is not the main problem to overcome for young Kiyoha, but rather the appearance of young Soujiro and the impossibility of love in these quarters.
• Yoshiwara (The Las Vegas of its day) whose name means Good Luck Meadow, was a famous red-light district, pleasure quarter in Edo, present-day Tokyo, Japan. As a social venue officially recognized by the Shogunate goverment it surpassed even the Ginza or Akasaka of today in its respect for the customs and morals of the well-born and the wealthy, and thus coressponds to the licensed U.S. gambling mecca of Las Vegas. The 'habitues', versed in the ways of Quarter, formed cultural salons with the courtesans in wich flourished the arts, fashions, and trends of the Edo period, making it a place offering everything both men and women could want. The Yoshiwara was home to some 1,750 women in the 1700s, with records of some 3,000 women from all over Japan at one time. These women were often sold to the brothels by their parents at the age of about seven to twelve. If the young girl was lucky, she would become an apprentice to a high ranking courtesan. When the girl was old enough and had completed her training, she would become a courtesan herself and work her way up the ranks. The girls often had a contract to the brothel for only about five to ten years, but massive debt often kept them in the brothels their entire life. There were very few ways for a young lady to get out of the brothel due to all of her debt. The girls were allowed to (temporarily) leave Yoshiwara only for two reasons: to visit dying parents, and to see the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park.
• Oiran (A thousand gawkers, a hungred customers, ten clients, and one lover): Reigning over the Yoshiwara quarter were its oiran, the the highest class of courtesan, with whom it was a point of pride that their favors were not to be won by money alone. Oiran practiced the arts of dance, music, poetry and calligraphy, and an educated wit was considered essential to sophisticated conversation. For the common people of Edo, the oiran was the object of admiration and envy. The term oiran is said to have been shorterned from 'our older sister', oira no nesama in the dialect of the time, the term by which the attendants and 'new girls' would address the courtesan under whom they worked. The rise of the geisha ended the era of the oiran. Geisha practiced the common entertainments enjoyed by the people of that time, and were much more accessible to the casual visitor. Their popularity grew rapidly and eclipsed that of the oiran. The last recorded oiran was in 1761.
• Oiran Dochu: The procession of a leading oiran in full regalia - Shinano, Sakura, and Bunsui - among the cherry blossoms in April and on the most formal occasion consisted of some twenty or twenty-one persons. As there were courtesans of such high rank, each procession was enjoyed by spectators. Bordello proprietors were quite aware of the appeal of such a display and made the most of processions to advertise their courtesans.