Behind the Story of Blood and Tears — Tayuu and Uguisu Facial Cream

Behind the Story of Blood and Tears — Tayuu and Uguisu Facial Cream

September 25, 2018 Behind the Story Blog Blood and Tears History Japan 0


In Blood and Tears episode 4 (18JUN18),  Usaburo, O-Hatsu and O-Bun meet a tayuu who is part of a traveling theatre group that offers a variety show of sorts, which might include kabuki theatre, acrobatics, swordplay, dancing, singing, comedy, storytelling, etc.

Tayuu is not a proper name, but a title for high-ranking courtesans. These women did provide sexual services; however, unlike yaba onna or common prostitutes, tayuu were also professional entertainers and fashionistas. To achieve the rank of tayuu, a woman would be trained in singing, storytelling, musical instruments, dancing, poetry, fashion, calligraphy, tea ceremony and other arts. Maintaining a superior status also relied on her popularity and patronage by powerful clients.

The uguisu facial cream the tayuu gives to O-Hatsu as a parting gift was a real cosmetic product used by women of the period. The key ingredient is uguisu no fun 鶯の糞 (literally, “bush warbler droppings”). The droppings are said to improve skin tone by providing nutrients and moisture. Uguisu cosmetics and skincare products are available in modern times, About Uguisu no Fun (Not an endorsement. Link provided for information only.)