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  • Japanese: 金毘羅 or 金比羅 (Konpira)

Konpira is a town in Kagawa prefecture (Sanuki province), best known as the home of the Shinto Kotohira Shrine, and of the Kanamaru-za (aka Konpira Ôshibai or Konpira Grand Theater), the oldest still-operating kabuki theater in the world.

A major pilgrimage destination, Konpira also became a major center of entertainment. While Takamatsu han domainal authorities did not allow prostitution in most other parts of the domain, it flourished in Konpira, alongside kabuki, geisha houses, and the like. While the owners of brothels and geisha houses employed local girls (with local regional dialects/accents and low-class bearing) as waitresses and the like, many hired more cultured geisha and courtesans from Osaka and Kyoto in order to appeal to higher-class customers. Many also patterned their establishments (e.g. including architecture and decor) after high-class Osaka and Kyoto teahouses.


  • Amy Stanley, Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan, UC Press (2012), 164, 168.

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