Yonosuke, “Man of the World,” the son of a wealthy playboy businessman and a courtesan of the pleasure quarter in Kyoto who settle down into domesticity after marriage. Precocious concerning love and sex, Yonosuke has his calligraphy teacher copy down his first love letter at the age of seven. As a teenager, he engages in numerous escapades in his search for pleasures of the flesh. Finally, his father disowns him when he is nineteen years old. For the next fifteen years, Yonosuke engages in a variety of occupations, such as salmon peddler, Shinto priest, wandering singer and actor, male prostitute, manager of male prostitutes, and attendant of rich businessmen. The money he earns is quickly frittered away drinking and visiting women of the pleasure quarter. Although physically attractive, well educated, and personally charming, Yonosuke is not always successful in his quest for love and is several times rejected, is beaten by outraged husbands, and once ends up in jail. After almost dying in a shipwreck, he learns that his father has died and that his mother wants him at home. He returns to become head of his family and receives a gift of twenty-five thousand kan of silver from his mother to do with as he wishes. He immediately decides to use the money to ransom all the courtesans in Japan’s pleasure quarters that he finds appealing. Yonosuke marries after being accepted back into his family, but domestic life does not long satisfy...
(The entire section is 420 words.)