Monday, November 11, 2013

Episode #12: Abe Sada, Part 1 (Show Notes)

She perpetrated the crime of the century; cutting her name into her murdered lover’s thigh, Abe Sada left her brand on Japanese history, too. Born during a period when girls and women were compelled to obey patriarchal social customs, she revolted against the archetype.

Born in Tokyo’s Kanda neighborhood to a bourgeois family of tatami mat makers, Abe flouted conventions early. Throughout her youth and teenage years, she was infatuated by the glamorous, yet mysterious world of geishas. It was a scandalous preoccupation for a genteel, upper-middle class girl. Unsurprisingly, after her matrimonial prospects were seemingly doomed she utterly embraced the part of misfit.

Antique postcard that captures Osaka’s
Tobita Yukaku (red-light district), c. 1920
Following becoming a geisha at 18, Abe was summarily divested of her childish misconceptions. The women she venerated, those she sought to emulate, had entered the geisha-house before preadolescence. She'd never achieve their prominence. Ultimately, she entered licensed prostitution. 

After “changing saddles” many times, she departed from the business completely, and met her benefactor. Encouraging her to pursue economic independence, he proposed Abe start a restaurant. He’d fund the enterprise, but she’d need to apprentice somewhere beforehand. Enter Kichizo Ishida, proprietor of the Yoshidaya restaurant and the man Abe would murder and dismember (::wink, wink::) for love.

Dying for more specifics of how Abe transformed from impetuous school-girl to love-struck killer? Then, check-out this History Bitch approved biography:

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