Young Japanese girl forced into prostitution during U.S. military occupation, her initiation into the sordid life, and the consequences.
Earnest Mercer served in a branch of Naval Intelligence and was stationed in Japan when the military occupation ended in 1951. He studied the Japanese culture and language, and continues those interests today. He wrote a MBA thesis on Japan during his quest for an MBA.
Seventeen-year-old Matsuyama Yoshiko, destitute and bordering on starvation during the post WWII occupied Japan, was contemplating suicide. With no workplace training, she was forced to sort rotting vegetables for meager pay. When she could no longer tolerate her living conditions, she decided to become a skivvy girl in Yokosuka, the home of a large naval base. Arriving in the tumultuous city alone and penniless, she was befriended by a prostitute known as a “skivvy girl” in military jargon. A skivvy-house mama-san took her in and taught the neophyte how to accommodate her clients. When she completed her training and began to accept customers, a young American sailor visited the skivvy house. They formed a bond that was to last for the next two years. During that time they weathered language problems, cultural conflicts, unplanned separations, and cataclysmic natural disasters. But when Wiley’s assignment ended, and he left Japan, Yoshiko abandoned the life of a skivvy girl and returned to her home village. Eight years later, Wiley returned to Japan to search for Yoshiko. They were reunited, but fate cruelly intervened presenting the star-crossed lovers with obstacles they could not overcome.
That afternoon, Yoshi took her place by the chabudai table and waited for a customer. About 4:00 p.m., a young sailor came in and spoke to Mama-san. When one or more large ships were in port, the skivvy houses could expect customers at any time of day, but there were no large ships docked at this time, so this man, hardly more than a boy, was probably a shore-based seaman, she guessed. He had red hair and extraordinary ice-blue eyes, a combination she and the other girls found extremely odd, but attractive nevertheless.
He is strangely handsome, despite his paleness, thought Yoshiko. His mannerisms, the way he shyly diverts his eyes from the girls speaking only to Mama-san. How nice. Maybe he’ll choose me—I hope so anyway.
After negotiations, he finally took note of the girls seated in a semicircle around a table. At first it looked as if he were about to choose Yoshiko, but after resting his gaze on her for a moment, he nodded to Mariko. The other girls told Yoshiko later that they were sorry because this man seemed like the right one for her first accommodation, but he apparently chose the eldest of the girls because Mariko seemed somehow less threatening than a girl of his own age. Yoshiko was disappointed the shy young gaijin with the carrot colored hair and eyes of blue ice had not chosen her.
The next customer was heavy-set and stood well over six feet. He was unsteady on his feet and reeked of alcohol and stale cigarette smoke. After a quick negotiation on fee, he dispassionately yanked Yoshiko to her feet and dragged her like a rag doll behind him toward a private room.
Steeling herself, Yoshiko managed to keep from screaming and only resisted enough to keep her injuries and damage to her clothes to a minimum.
Mama-san felt sorry for Yoshiko, but the neophyte’s introduction to the life of a skivvy girl had to happen sooner or later; too bad such an oaf is the one to carry out the initiation. It’s too bad any of us have to put up with such uncouth louts, she thought.
After lurching into Yoshiko’s room, the burly seaman cast her aside as if she were a sack of clothing. Yoshiko lay immobile in a crumpled heap to see what the man’s next move would be. His uniform was filthy. She could smell his sour breath even while sprawled on the floor. She didn’t dare move an inch and she couldn’t speak; her throat was so tight she could barely breathe. She could barely tolerate looking at the sailor; he was so ugly. He had bristles over his cheeks and his eyes were red-rimmed beneath bushy eyebrows. She quickly averted her eyes as the man glared at her, panting heavily while spewing droplets of saliva each time he exhaled.
He tore off his hat and kerchief and flung them across the room. Still leering at the skivvy girl lying on the floor, he began to slowly unbutton his trousers. “Stop shaking girl. Get ready to do what I’m paying your for,” he ordered. “I’ll be ready for some action in just a minute; you get ready too.”
Yoshiko managed to reach a sitting position and watched the man from beneath lowered eyelids. She surreptitiously swathed her vagina with some gel, hoping the oaf wouldn’t notice. She didn’t know if she wished he would hurry and get this short-time over with, or if she wished he would take a long time before jumping on her.
Finally he manipulated the buttons on his regulation trousers and shoved them down to his ankles where he used his feet to stomp out of them. He kicked them aside into a grubby pile. He took off his jersey and undershirt and flung them in the general direction of his trousers. Then he plopped down heavily cross-legged in front of Yoshiko clad only in his under shorts and continued his malevolent gaze.
Yoshiko noticed the bulge in his groin area. I’ve done nothing to excite this crude man, she thought, but he evidently has found something that aroused him. Maybe he can look at me and see I’m a new skivvy girl, a virgin, and he likes that. But how could he know I’ve never accommodated a man?
He looks at me like old Ishikawa-san, the farmer in Wakabayashi I passed everyday on the way to school. The old man always stopped his big water buffalo and just stood leering as I hurried past. Actually, this huge ugly man reminds me as much of the old farmer’s buffalo as Ishikawa himself. She couldn’t help the flicker of her mischievous smile as the image registered in her mind. “Oh my Kami, he’ll misinterpret my smile,” and quickly covered her mouth with her hand.
Yoshiko wasn’t old enough or experienced enough to understand what was behind the ogling of the farmer, but even at her young age, she recognized the evil in that man’s eyes and that he was a danger to her. Now she instinctually knew she faced a similar danger
The hulk of a man sitting with his legs crossed like some grimy likeness of a sitting Buddha continued his slurring monologue, “Damn, why is she so blurry; I can’t make out her face hardly at all. Was that a smile I saw? Naw, probably not, she’s too scared. And if she really is a virgin like the old bitch out front told me, she has a right to be scared, ‘cause I’m gonna give her a lesson in screwing that she won’t ever forget. Man I hope all those beers I’ve sucked up don’t mess with my hard. This gal seems prime stuff.
You, whatever your name is, I doubt you unnerstan what I’m saying, but I bet you unnerstan what I’m gonna do!” He spat out a wad of saliva toward the corner of the room. “I bet you’re already wet where I’m gonna put my pecker; just anticipating the screwing I’m gonna give you.”
Yoshiko didn’t understand a word the man said, and jumped each time he hesitated and started up again. Her flight or fight instinct almost caused her to fly away, but she struggled to stay seated and tried to feign a calmness she in no way felt. Her trembling bespoke her terror.
The two opposites faced each other, the terrified novice skivvy girl and the scruffy seaman consumed by lust for the young girl before him. He fully intended to use this young body for his personal gratification without regard for anybody but himself. He continued to quietly gaze at Yoshiko for several minutes, as he mentally undressed the teenager, imagining what her young firm body would look like once she was naked and at his mercy.
Yoshiko thought again of old man Ishikawa and his lascivious gaze; she thought if she had her wish, she would choose Ishikawa over this slob. At least Ishikawa was old and feeble. This man looked to be as strong as Ishikawa’s buffalo. She knew she would be helpless under his power; he would be able do anything to her he wanted.
Yoshiko tried to avoid looking directly at the repugnant foreigner, but was afraid if she diverted her eyes he would catch her off guard and leap upon her negating whatever defensive effort she could muster. But every time she glanced at him, she nearly choked on the bitter bile that rose from inside her. She said in Japanese, knowing the man wouldn’t understand, “I’d like to spit this vile stuff at you, you disgusting walrus. Oh how I’d love to see my spittle clinging to your fat hairy jowls.” The errant smile she could not always control spread across her lips.
“Why are you smiling, bitch, and what are you jabbering about? You know I don’t understand that gibberish. Knock it off before I pop ya one! Or speak English like you’re supposed to. And wipe that stupid smile off your face.”
Yoshiko quickly clamped her lips. She was very afraid of riling the beast in the man. It’s bad enough, she thought, that when he gets on top of me he will probably crush my bones or suffocate me, or both. She wondered why these Americans were so big and so ugly, and smelled so bad. This one stinks worse than a benjo ditch!
She despised the look in his eyes, and recoiled from the unbridled lust mirrored in his face. But there was something else there. Was it contempt? Though a new phenomenon now, she would note in future accommodations that contempt and lust would show up simultaneously in many of the GIs coming to the skivvy house to satisfy their physical needs with the bodies of skivvy girls.
She tried to replace the thoughts she held for the seaman leering at her with pleasanter things, but to little avail. Perplexingly, she discovered she had mixed feelings about his lust. Nobody had ever lusted after her, as far as she knew. She surprised herself that she could feel a tiny bit pleased that a man found her desirable, even this horrible man.
The beer-sodden sailor’s passion was surging, as he had been tumescent ever since yanking Yoshiko from the main room. He kept patting the bulge and smirking at Yoshiko, “This is for you whore, we’re gonna have a hellova time, you and me!”
Then to himself, he mumbled, “Could she actually be a virgin like the old mama bitch said? She looks young enough, and scared enough. Could this be my lucky day? I usually would rather have an experienced whore, but I can’t pass up the bragging rights if she really is a virgin. I ain’t got no cherry for a long time, and never in Japan.”
Then shattering the brief period of relative quietness, the man growls, “My name’s Joe; what’s your name, honey?”
Yoshiko involuntarily shrank back. But she forced herself to look at him again. Nothing had changed; he was still revolting. Flecks of spittle continued to fly from his mouth when he spoke, causing her to flinch. Some saliva clung to the stubble on his chin in little iridescent bubbles. He tried to remove it with his tongue; that failing, he took a swipe at them with the back of his hand. He wiped his hand on his skivvy shorts, rubbing his hardness at the same time.
Yoshiko guessed that Joe was not his real name, but it didn’t matter; nobody seemed to use his or her real name in Yokosuka. All she could think of was how to survive the encounter with this lout and hope that future encounters would be less repulsive than this one.
She knew it was incumbent on her to make the best of her decision to become a skivvy girl, but she felt so dirty, so contaminated by the foul-smelling customer she was about to accommodate. Her stomach was knotting in spasms, tears were gathering in the corners of her eyes, and her bladder was crying for relief. She felt she might lose control, and wondered what would happen if she had to interrupt the man’s short-time to run to the toilet, or worse, urinated during the accommodation. I wonder what he would think of that! It would serve him right! There it was again; the disobedient smile
Before her resolve faltered, she called on her rehearsed English phrases. “I Yoshiko, what you want do?”
There. She had opened the conversation door, now what? No matter how he responded, she probably wouldn’t understand, but at least she had followed instructions. She muttered ruefully, “Maybe if I could force myself to relax, my bladder would ease and I wouldn’t wet my pants. Don’t smile girl! Don’t!”
The sailor stood and barked, “Well bitch, what I ‘want you do’ is take off your clothes so we can screw.” He finished his statement in his head. She really is inexperienced. What a dumb question for a whore to ask a customer. Maybe I should just tell her to do something really quirky. Naw, Joe, keep it clean, he decided. She probably wouldn’t understand anyway.
Suddenly without any warning, he lurched to his feet, yanked Yoshiko upright, and began tearing off her clothes with his huge hands.
Yoshiko was panic-stricken. It was as if a huge mountain bear had attacked her! His assault was worse than any nightmare the terrified girl had ever had. She fought back without thinking, flailing at him with her hands and squirming to get away, but her efforts seemed to excite the seaman even more. He was just too strong. Even if she did manage to break loose, then what, she thought. He had her trapped in the small room. Besides, Mama-san wouldn’t tolerate her running away.
Yoshiko was wearing her new western-style clothing, a skirt and blouse that Amiko had helped pick out. The sailor’s roughshod attack caused the buttons to explode from the new blouse like kernels of popcorn, exposing her pink bra. He seized the delicate bra and pitilessly ripped it off, destroying the hook-and-eye fasteners in the process. The monster was trashing her new clothes with unbelievable callousness.
Yoshiko was incredulous that she could be worrying about her clothes while the brute was manhandling her. Still, she grabbed the clothing within reach and clutched them to her breast. It was an involuntary act, she wasn’t sure if she did so to hid her nakedness or in a vain attempt to salvage the garments. She stood rooted in fear, naked except for her panties. Her skirt lay in folds around her ankles. She was shedding tears in gushes from her panic filled eyes, and her body trembled like mountain aspen leaves in autumn. Pathetically, she swung her head from side to side looking for help that wasn’t there.
Her tormentor just glowered at her, actually seeming to enjoy her terror. Daggers of passion shot from the big man’s eyes. He was panting as if he had just run a 100-meter dash, which of course he couldn’t have done in his physical condition. He patted his groin again, which pulsated with each touch, and spewed more vileness from his frothy mouth.
He suddenly tore Yoshiko’s hands holding the bundle of clothes away and slapped his huge bear-like paws where her hands had been a split second before. He clutched her breasts, squeezed hard, and pinched her involuntarily hardened nipples until they stood out like two ripe cherries. Her breasts hurt so much she couldn’t stifle a whimper; they were on fire!
It seemed as if the more fear she showed, the more her assailant became aroused. The more she struggled, the more pressure he put on her breasts. He actually seemed to be amused at her feeble resistance. At last, Yoshiko gave up the struggle and sank sobbing to her knees, temporarily breaking his grip on her breasts.
He stooped over her gazing at her battered breasts throbbing with pain and sneered, “Kinda small ain’t they? Why do Jap women have such small tits?”
Yoshiko didn’t understand his words, but she knew what he meant. He just stood there gawking for a few seconds, and then he yanked her up and shoved her against the wall. She tried to shield her breasts, already showing bluish-red bruises from his earlier rough treatment. She fought back, but her efforts were no match for the sailor’s strength. He brushed aside her vain efforts and resumed massaging her breasts like he was kneading so much dough. The pain was excruciating. She couldn’t help but think that if this was western-style sex, the ugly foreigners must really be barbarians as Tojo’s propaganda had claimed. It was certainly not like the passionate lovemaking she had seen in the movie theaters.
She suddenly relaxed; and then catching the sailor off guard, she was able to break from his grasp. She stumbled over her skirt still wadded around her ankles, collapsed and instinctively coiled into a fetal position in a corner of the room. She watched him moving toward her through the salty film over her eyes.
Yoshiko was hysterical by this time, cringing in abject terror, with no idea how to protect herself from more battering. She fleetingly wondered if the mama-san or one of the girls would come to her aid if she called out. They wouldn’t, and she knew it. She was on her own and totally at the mercy of this animal that stood over her. She instinctively, pathetically tried to cover her nakedness.
“Come back whore, I’m ready for some real action. Now git the rest of them clothes off girl now! I’m in no mood for fooling around,” he growled.
Yoshiko was bruised, battered, and humiliated, but obediently she began to remove her panties, all that remained of her clothing.
“Please Joe-san, not hurt me,” she pleaded pathetically.
Joe, having shed the remainder of his clothing, stood nude, impatiently waiting. He grasped his penis and pointed it directly at Yoshiko. “Look at this whore; it’s ready for you!”
She shuddered at the sight of his nudity, not because of the nakedness itself; she had seen many naked men in the bathhouses. But this man was so grotesque! He was pale white, almost pink, with rolls of fat sagging around his waist. And hair! Hair everywhere; around his groin; under his armpits; on his chest, and all over his arms and legs, even scraggly stubble on his chin! His face was contorted in pure unbridled passion. His eyes were ablaze and he kept running his tongue over his lips as if he were about to delve into a scrumptious meal. Besides his ugliness, Yoshiko could smell him all the way across the room. His penis he held in his hand seemed to glare at Yoshiko like a one-eyed viper, ugly, menacing and totally vulgar.
. Her hands shook so uncontrollably she had trouble getting her panties off, but her body was taut. She was so rooted in fear she could barely move, but somehow managed to kick her new skirt away and stood naked before the salivating hulk. She was rigid with fear, rigid as one of the pillars that supported the roof of the skivvy house. She felt as if she were made of the same timber, completely fixed in place, unable to move.
Yoshiko’s girlish body, immature breasts and almost hairless groin, excited the sailor to the very edge of madness.
“Get ‘em off, or by gawd or I’ll tear them to shreds. I’ll show you what a good sukuru means.”
Then, he slammed the, four-foot-eleven, 50 kilo-17-year-old country girl to the straw mat and quickly covered her with his 6’ 2”, 225lb. frame. The girl was barely visible beneath his bulk.
Yoshiko could feel his manhood probing as if unable to find a home. She wriggled, trying desperately to avoid him entering her, but could keep it up for just so long.
Then with a loud grunt, he entered her, ignoring pain he was causing and the damage he was doing to her sensitive flesh. “How about that, whore; some pecker, huh!”
Yoshiko clamped her eyes shut, gritted her teeth and tried to stifle a scream as she lost her virginity in a moment of agonizing pain. Her head was swimming as she strained to shut off the searing agony. She was on the verge of losing consciousness. Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, she thought, but if she did she would lose the last shred of resistance, and this maniac would be free to do anything he wanted, maybe even kill her.
When the seaman who had been pumping his body up and down, hesitated and then let out a groan, Yoshiko prayed that groan meant he was finished. Thank you Kami-sama! She thought. Since he had only paid for a short time, he wouldn’t be allowed a second attack.
He yelled, “Well damn, she really is a virgin! Or, I should say, ‘was’, ‘cause she sure as hell ain’t no more! Wait ‘til I tell the swabs on the ship I actually screwed a virgin skivvy girl. But she seemed wet, so maybe she really wanted it!!” A smile crawled across his face just before his lips formed an ugly sneer as he apparently thought of bragging to his shipmates. “Crap, they ain’t gonna believe me—a virgin Jap whore! No way!”
The brute that had just torn Yoshiko’s hymen, had been rough and callous, but luckily for her, he finished his assault quickly, rose and pulled his grimy uniform on. He swayed back and forth as he gazed down at her trembling body with a look of utter disdain. Then he whirled around and left the skivvy house without another word.
Yoshiko lay there naked, sobbing, and totally debased. Blood was seeping onto the tatami from her ruptured hymen. Her muscles ached all over from the resistance to the manhandling, her breasts were throbbing, and her groin was on fire. The man’s merciless attack had torn flesh and membrane alike. Yoshiko, at that moment, couldn’t help but question her decision to become a skivvy girl. She wondered, what kind of beasts are these Americans? Will other customers be so brutal? Oh, why couldn’t the nice young man with the strange red hair have chosen me? I have a feeling he would not have been so cruel.
Yoshiko recoiled as she heard the shoji open, afraid that her tormentor had returned, but to her great relief, Mariko glided into the room and knelt beside her.
“Well Yoshi,” she said, “welcome to the world of a skivvy girl.