1 May 2016 | lreynaert
Mizu shōbai (The water trade)
Both Kinji Fukasaku's movie and 'Street of Shame' by Kenji Mizoguchi deal with the same theme: the discussion about the legal 'abolition of prostitution in Japan' in the years 1956-1958. While Mizoguchi's movie backs sharply the abolition, Fukasaku's movie is against it (e. g., its music is rather a glorification of the geisha trade). His work is a more or less objective analysis of the 'water trade' (the house rules, its financial aspects, the girls, the clients, the mamasan, the patronage), in the same vein as the Japanese writer Nagai Kafû did in his novels and short stories. Both movies explain clearly the social background and the causes of the choice of the girls to enter the water trade: poverty and family problems (ill health of family members).
Sayo Masuda (Autobiography of a geisha) as well as Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a geisha) confirm in their books that the important financial investment in the training of a girl to become a geisha is for a major part immediately recovered by the 'sale' of her sexual initiation. This fact was completely 'forgotten' in the movie 'Memoirs of a geisha' by Rob Marshall based on Arthur Golden's novel. Not a masterpiece, but well worth seeing.