by Ji Myounghun (MJ)
Fukagawa is located in Koto, Japan and was first known for the concentrations of the trading posts and merchants. Through the river lines along the Sumida River to the sea, many ports were seen near the woods stocks from the blooming lumber industries. Through several sea merchants flowing by Fukagawa, entertainments/habitats were vastly invested and developed. Similar to Yoshiwara district but foremost, Fukagawa engaged in prostitution and flourished earlier. Some of them started from dressing up like boys, emulating and mimicking male performers in the kabuki theatre. Later the development of the city, several rich merchants sent their children for dancing lessons and manners along with performances on a festival stages.
Foods related to Fukagawa, such as Fukagawa-meshi, often include various seafoods due to Fukagawa’s old location being near the sea side. What’s quite interesting in the Fukagawa is that the city now still holds the absence of olden Edo period through various preservation practices. For instances, through the allies or designated areas, several households share similar appearances as old infrastructures and the general vibe within those areas give off the atmosphere of Edo period. Not limited to the architectural aspects, places for commemoration of a poet, Basho, or Hachiman festival held in Hachiman-gu Temple is also included within the concept of preservation in Fukagawa.
However, with not only the culture and traditions, Fukagawa also involved itself in preservation of nature and environments mostly from the aspect of the importance in the lumber industry previously. Within civilizations, Fukagawa incorporated the harmony between keeping the interactions of the city and environment along the Sumida riverway and parks. Nowadays, complains regarding construction sites and its dust issues were raised but appropriate measures were continued to be researched for the proper managements and balances.
- The Gei of Geisha: Music, Identity and Meaning ”Yoshiwara: The Glittering World of the Japanese Courtesan