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The “Goze” of Japan – Notes from Arm Chair Travel

August 03, 2021 1 min read

“Well into the 20th century the Japan Se coast was the haunt of the Goze – the blind wandering musicians. They went from village to village in the old province of Echigo to sing & play the Shamisen intsrument at weddings and festivals in exchange for food and boarding.

All were women and they congregated according to a strict hierarchical society organised into small dependent bands.

The younger and the more ambitious of the Goze might supplement their pittance of an income by selling their bodies at the village fairs – though if this was known to the society they would find themselves stripped of companionship and forced to wander through the Back of Japan with only a stick and a song to survive on”

~notes of Alan Booth who walked 2000 km from one end of Japan to another -“The Roads to Sata’

How did they travel from one village to another? What about their birth families? What about when they were too old? Is this still done?

Reminds me of the Komusa musicians of Japan that I’d read about (and blogged about in 2012. The fascination with Japan continues…

Pre reading for a trip I intend to take one day. Previous 2 trips to urban Tokyo & Okinawa do not count…

***

jm

image from wikipedia.



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