The Oiran Tradition: Japan’s Real Celebrities

If you’re looking for Japanese culture, Asakusa in Tokyo is the top spot. On this day, John visits the Yoshiwara for the Oiran Dochu, a parade re-enacted annually to preserve the old traditions of the neighborhood. The event is attracting more visitors and it’s time to explain exactly what you’re seeing!

John talks with an actresses playing a Tayu, the top level Oiran in the Oiran Dochu
John talks with an actresses playing a Tayu, the top level Oiran in the Oiran Dochu

Geisha vs Oiran: What’s the difference?
I ask Grigoris Miliaresis, a journalist living and studying Asakusa and historical Japanese culture.
The faces may be white, but the wig, hair ornaments, kimono, colors, even feet are totally different!

How much was a night with an oiran?
According to Grigoris, it cost 1 year’s salary for a normal worker!
The Orian were not your usual prostitutes in the western sense.
* Oiran choose their clients
* Oiran met 3 times with a new client before anything “romantic” occurred.
* The were as talented as geisha in the arts and, because they had extravagant dress and style, Oiran were like the movie stars, the pin up girls for men.

Does this make them better than geisha?
Perhaps.

The Oiran Dochu is held on the first Saturday in April every year.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/JyBDq

The main stage is a 5 to 10 minute walk north of Sensoji Temple.

URL: Grigoris Miliaresis, Journalist and Writer about Asakusa and Shitamachi, Japanese History and Culture
http://about.me/GrigorisMiliaresis
Oiran Dochu Procession in Asakusa / Yoshiwara:
http://www.tokyo-asakusa.com/whatsnew…
https://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/ev… (Japanese Only)
Special Thanks to Yoko Okita (sensei), the Oiran participants and the Yoshiwara Neighborhood!

This show has been created and produced by John Daub ジョン・ドーブ. He’s been living and working in Japan for over 17 years and regularly reports on a TV show for Japan’s International Channel.

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