Author and Journalist

A Geisha for the American Consul

Thursday, 6 December, 2012· Last Updated on: Thursday, 6 December, 2012

in Blog

My new e book short story, A Geisha for the American Consul, is out today.
Loved writing the story of Okichi, the very first of the Japanese women forced to sleep with a western man. To Japanese of those days, the 1850s, westerners were as weird and outlandish and appalling as space aliens. Imagine … Very few Japanese had ever been outside their own country and here were these huge, hairy, bulbous-nosed creatures – sort of like King Kong – arriving on their shores and demanding women. I spent a few days in Shimoda some years ago. There’s a whole cult of Okichi there now, where she’s portrayed as a sacrifice on the altar of international relations. She was the very first Madame Butterfly; there was no way her story could turn out well. So in my short story I’ve tried to evoke the Shimoda I visited – the cliffs, the inlets, the steaming hot springs, the neatly-whitewashed walls and little canals, the streets where Okichi walked and the disused temple that was made into the first American Consulate …

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