Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153243
Title: EARLY JAPANESE EMIGRANTS TO SINGAPORE : THE KARAYUKISAN (1868-1920)
Authors: YEE MEI LENG
Issue Date: 1985
Citation: YEE MEI LENG (1985). EARLY JAPANESE EMIGRANTS TO SINGAPORE : THE KARAYUKISAN (1868-1920). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Japanese emigration to Singapore in the fifty years after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 was characterised by an unnaturally large number of women who exceeded that of men. These women. most of whom were sold into prostitution, were called karayuklsan. They originated from the povertystricken regions of Amakusa and Shimabara in Southern Kyushu as well as the economically underdeveloped areas of Aomori and Hokkaido in Northern Japan. Failure to solve agrarian problems and poverty made the sale of girls into prostitution abroad an economic necessity throughout the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Singapore at this time, because of its strategic position as a port of call along the international shipping route, was an ideal centre for prostitution to thrive. Alongside cafes and provision stores, brothel owners operated their immoral business in the Japanese-dominated Middle Road area. Tolerated by both the British Colonial and Japanese Governments, licensed Japanese prostitution became economically prosperous and spearheaded a host of other economic activities for an expanding Japanese community. Due to the nature of their profession, the karayukisan were subject to abuse and contempt from unsympathetic local residents as well as an increasing number of Japanese engaged in legitimate occupations. Deemed as symbols of 'national disgrace' by most, the karayuklsan were only socially accepted by the 'downtown' group -- fellow and government-motivated emigration of the later Japanese elites. A study of the karayukisan emigration has important implications for the student interested in the genealogy of the Japanese community in Singapore if only for the above reasons.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153243
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