Kusumoto Otaki

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Kusumoto Otaki, or Taki, also known as Sonogi, was a Nagasaki courtesan who had a lengthy live-in relationship with the German physician Philipp Franz von Siebold. Their daughter, Kusumoto Oine, or Ine, is recognized as the first female doctor in Japan.

According to some scholars, Otaki is known to have been a prostitute indentured to the Hikita-ya brothel in Nagasaki's Yoriai district, while other sources suggest that she may have simply posed as a prostitute in order to gain access to Dejima.[1] Ordinary townswomen were forbidden from marrying foreigners, but a courtesan of one of the Maruyama or Yoriai brothels could be hired by a foreigner (such as Siebold) for an indefinite period of time. Taki lived with Siebold for six years, until he was deported and banished from Japan in 1829, on accusations of espionage, when he was found with maps of the country given him as gifts by Japanese scholars.

Following Siebold's deportation, Taki married a Japanese man, Tawaraya Tokujirô (d. 1851),[2] with whom she raised Oine.


  • Amy Stanley, Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan, UC Press (2012), 93-94.
  1. Stanley, 93; Lionel Lambourne, Japonisme: Cultural Crossings Between Japan and the West, London: Phaidon (2005), 20.
  2. Gary Leupp, Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900, A&C Black (2003), 98.
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