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SELLING WOMEN: Prostitution, Markets and the Household in Early Modern Japan, by Amy Stanley. University of California Press, 2012, 282 pp., $49.95 (hardcover)

In the vast cultural landscape, Japan fascinates the mainstream with manga and anime, the martial arts, Zen and kimono. Of course, Japan equally attracts with its underground culture. Since its 19th-century erotic woodcuts stormed France, Japan repels and beguiles the world with hostess bars, male bras, used underwear for sale and other twists of the water-trade.

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