Oiran Buchi

Hear about this event on Bonus Episode 15 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Oiran Buchi
Oiran Buchi from above.

Oiran Buchi

Oiran Buchi (花魁淵/おいらん淵 – The Courtesan’s Abyss) is a gorge/waterfall located in Yamanashi Prefecture.

The area is known from an event from around the 1570’s (Sengoku Period) involving the Takeda Clan at the time.

During the Sengoku Period, to help fuel their battles and other exploits, the Takeda gained much of their money from a secret mine located in the Kurokawa Kinzan Mountain. Other exploits the money went to involved giving money to shrines, as well as burying amounts hidden in the foothills.

The gold mining peaked during Takeda Shingen, a strategy genius who used the gold to build a large spy network, adept at using female ninja ‘ku-no-ichi‘. These women posed as anything from, holy women, to servants, to prostitutes who gained intel from his rivals.

For the mining they employed many men and in addition they also made use of 55 courtesans who would entertain the men on their downtime.

Eventually the mine began to run dry and so decisions were made to close the mine. However, wishing to keep the mine a secret it was decided that the 55 courtesan’s would need to be gotten ridden of as they may have learnt of the mine from entertaining the men. (Or even from their skills as ku-no-ichi if that is what they were.)

And so a platform was constructed, suspended over the gorge here, with the 55 women placed on the stage being told they were to practise for a thank you party for the coming night. As they continued their practise, Takeda men destroyed the supports of the platform, causing all the women to fall to their deaths. Their bodies were eventualy retrieved from the bend in the gorge. It is inclued as a Yokai in certain literature.1

Footnotes

1. Yoda, H & Alt, M. (2012) “Yurei Attack: The Japanese Ghost Survival Guide” Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing.

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