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  • In 1682, a Japanese poet wrote a book that would take the nation by storm.

  • To put a fine point on it, it was porn.

  • Sort of an oriental harlequin romance.

  • Calledthe Life of an Amorous Man”, from its pages flowed the fantastical sexcapades

  • meant purely for the titillation of the newly emerging middle ages Japanese businessmen.

  • Sort of the original manga behind the curtain, so to speak.

  • And as you might suspect, it did incredibly well.

  • Imagine if up until this point the internet had no adult content, and then tomorrow they start

  • a site called porn.com.

  • It would probably do ok.

  • But I'm not telling this story to talk about the arrival of overt sexuality into Japanese literature,

  • instead I want to focus on how it ends.

  • Because in those final stanzas, the protagonist finds himself retired to an island

  • far off the shore of mainland.

  • An island entirely populated by women so undersexed that even the arrival of a single sixty-year old man

  • is like throwing meat to the hyenas.

  • And once that entered the national psyche, it wasn't going anywhere.

  • Much like De Soto and the fountain of youth, once horny young Japanese boys heard about

  • this island, it was inevitable that they would try to find it.

  • Even if it didn't, you know, technically exist.

  • But unlike De Soto, they did.

  • Welcome to Yonaguni, the island of women.

  • Japan's original sexual fantasy.

  • It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that mainland Japanese men passed around stories

  • of an island where thin, beautiful women with light skin waited with bated breath to ravage

  • any potential suitor who might come their way.

  • Really, I wouldn't be surprised if any society had the same tall tale anywhere on earth.

  • Hell, I'm pretty sure there was even a Star Trek episode with the same premise, although

  • if recall correctly their skin was green.

  • It also doesn't surprise me that the people who shared that story chose an island virtually

  • as far away from the mainland as their maps could take them.

  • After all, you're selling a book with the myth as its premise, you really don't want people going to check.

  • Those authors knew that the best fantasies are ones you can never actually touch.

  • But eventually, the Japanese mainlanders did touch the island of women.

  • And for quite some time, it sort of lived up to its name.

  • At least in one respect.

  • Although the women weren't all that thin and their skin was much darker than promised,

  • the most important part of the story was proven true.

  • They were not just willing to have sex, they were active in their pursuit of it.

  • Maybe not by modern club goer standards, but far more willing than the women of the mainland.

  • This video is meant to discuss why.

  • Why were women of Yonaguni that much more likely to engage in casual sex

  • than their mainland counterparts?

  • It isn't like it was genetic.

  • And now, obviously there's more than one answer to this question.

  • So I'd like to break it down into three separate ideas.

  • The first is religion.

  • The second is power.

  • And the third is isolation.

  • So to start, let's discuss religion.

  • Or more specifically, creation myths.

  • In Japanese culture, Izanagi and Izanami were a brother and sister pair who desired,

  • to put it rather euphemistically, a union.

  • But their first attempt ended in failure, and the child it bore was deformed and broken.

  • They call him Ebisu, and according to the mythology, the reason he came out deformed

  • wasn't that he was the child of blood relations, but because the woman had made the first move.

  • And that simply wasn't her role.

  • Once Izanagi took charge, however, they were far more successful, and from Izanami's womb

  • spew forth all the islands of Japan, until at last she birthed a child

  • that her body simply couldn't handle.

  • The god of fire.

  • When she died, her brother-husband followed her weeping into the land of darkness,

  • only to spark a light and see her covered in maggots.

  • In disgust, he fled, sealing her forever beneath an unmovable stone.

  • And with her locked away, he'd take many more wives and set order to the universe.

  • Whether intended or not, the moral of the story is fairly clear to me.

  • Women are here to procreate.

  • And men are here to rule.

  • In Yonaguni's religion, however, that was not the case.

  • The basics were still the same.

  • Just as on mainland, there were two Gods who created the world.

  • And just as on mainland, they were a brother and sister pair.

  • But that's where the similarities end.

  • In the Okinawan creation myth, Shinerikyu and Amamikyu, as they were known, had five children.

  • Three boys, who would form king, lord, and commoner, and two girls, who would become

  • the high and low priestesses.

  • The secular, temporal world would be governed by men, but the spiritual would always be

  • the arena of women.

  • Men would be split between ruling and ruled, but all women contained the same theoretical essence.

  • In effect, they were masters of their own domain.

  • While there was clearly stratification between the priestess of the king and those of the common farmer,

  • in theory all women were capable of achieving the same spiritual balance.

  • Even the lowest of women was still capable of bringing the harvest.

  • They could all produce life.

  • While men were divided and delineated from birth, in Okinawan mythology,

  • every woman was born containing her own internal and indivisible power.

  • Just as with mainland, the idea was still that women were here to procreate, and men were here to rule.

  • But unlike on mainland, how that looked in practice was entirely on its head.

  • Which brings me to my second point.

  • Power.

  • In the aboriginal societies of islands and remote areas where access to new people is

  • hard to come by, fertility has always been treated as more important than manpower.

  • To the original people of Yonaguni, the loss of a few men was of little consequence

  • in the grand scheme of things, but a bad harvest could destroy everything.

  • It would kill everyone.

  • Skirmishes between tribes might take a few dozen men here or there,

  • but that was their role in society.

  • It was okay.

  • They weren't necessary, they just were.

  • But women were vital.

  • Protecting those who were necessary for procreation was therefore of both secular and spiritual importance.

  • In a worst case scenario, women could still plow the fields and hold a dagger.

  • But men would could never rebuild a crumbled population.

  • In many ways, this belief system was common among many Polynesian societies.

  • In fact, among many aboriginal societies around the globe.

  • In much of the Pacific, women were containers of mana, and while men were able to put that in,

  • they could never take it back out again.

  • Just as with the Japanese in Yonaguni, the first accounts of many of the comparably prudish

  • Western societies upon arrival in Hawaii and Tahiti for example,

  • speak about an island of women.

  • A place where sex is no taboo.

  • In the eyes of both Japan and Europe, they were stripping these women of their power.

  • Virginity was a lock that could only take one key.

  • If they gave that away, what else did they have?

  • In mainland societies, with patrilineal birthright, casual sex gave men power.

  • It gave farms more field hands, it gave armies more soldiers.

  • It gave economies more merchants.

  • But it gave nothing to women.

  • For the islanders, that was completely backwards.

  • They held the mana.

  • The more men they included in their coitus, the stronger they became.

  • More men would protect them in the secular world because in turn they were able to provide

  • more men with a connection to the spiritual.

  • If they slept with the community, their children, in turn, would belong to the community.

  • Simply put, women contained their own internal power, and nothing men did to them

  • could take that away.

  • They could only add to it, never subtract.

  • But that isn't to say that Okinawans didn't pair off.

  • Humans, even in societies where casual sex is, well, casual,

  • people still tend to find that pairing.

  • The brother and sister of creation, as both religions would define it.

  • It's just they didn't view sex as a mutually exclusive act.

  • Marriage was a spiritual act meant to keep the world in balance,

  • not a sexual one meant to affirm progeny.

  • Which brings me to my third point, isolation.

  • Yonaguni was an island with maybe four hundred people.

  • And while incest was a requirement for the king,

  • it was absolutely forbidden among the commoners.

  • Perhaps they'd had one too many Ebisus of their own.

  • But whatever the reason, everyone understood that new blood was a requirement to keep society strong.

  • So when a boat full of men arrived on their shores, the women would have naturally had

  • little reason to treat them as untouchable.

  • Foreign men arriving to mainland Japan would have been seen as a danger to a woman's power,

  • and would have been kept as far from them as possible.

  • But to Pacific islanders they would have contained new and powerful mana

  • that the women could gain as their own.

  • Plus, if those men had come to wage war, they'd find themselves far less likely to do so after

  • meeting a crowd of women looking to please.

  • It was a real win-win.

  • So yes, there was an island of women.

  • To the Japanese arriving here, the people of Yonaguni,

  • at least before they imposed their colonial culture upon them,

  • would have been far more willing to engage in casual sex

  • than their mainland counterparts.

  • And it that were written by the women of Yonaguni, I suspect that they would have spoken of a

  • floating island of men.

  • Foolish men came who gave their seed and asked nothing in return.

  • No blessing for the harvest.

  • No children to give to their jaws of war.

  • They just came and went.

  • And for the women of this island, that would have been ideal.

  • An island of men.

  • Yonaguni's original sexual fantasy.

  • This is Rare Earth.

In 1682, a Japanese poet wrote a book that would take the nation by storm.

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The Fantasy Sex Island of Ancient Japan

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    ayami   に公開 2019 年 11 月 13 日
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