Kagema (陰間) is a historical Japanese term for young male prostitutes. Kagema were often passed off as apprentice kabuki actors (who were themselves often prostitutes on the side) and catered to a mixed male and female clientele. For male clients, the preferred service was anal sex;[1](p109) homosexual fellatio is almost unmentioned in Tokugawa-era documents.[1](pp121-122) Kagema who were not affiliated with an actual kabuki theatre could be hired through male brothels or those teahouses specializing in kagema.[1](pp69-72) Kagema typically charged more than female prostitutes of equivalent status,[1](p111 and associated notes) and did a healthy trade into the mid-1800s despite increasing legal restrictions.[1](pp70-78, 132-134) Many such prostitutes, as well as many young kabuki actors, were indentured servants sold as children to the brothel or theatre, typically on a ten-year contract.[1](pp69, 134-135) Kagema could be presented as young men (yarō), wakashū (adolescent boys, about 10-18 years old) or as onnagata (female impersonators).[1](pp90-92)

File:Kitagawa Utamaro.jpg

This term also appears in modern Japanese homosexual slang.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Leupp, Gary P. (1997). Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan. University of California Press. ISBN 0520209001. 

Bernard Faure "The Red Thread" 1998.

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