Geishogi Kaiho Rei (Emancipation Edict for Female Performers and Prostitutes) (芸娼妓解放令)

The Geishogi Kaiho Rei is a law issued by the Meiji Government in 1872, whose main aim was to control human traffic of prostitutes.

In 1872 the María Luz Incident occurred. The Geishogi Kaiho Rei was announced in the process of settling the incident which involved a human rights issue.

The law provided major restrictions to government-approved prostitution by abolishing forced apprenticeship. However, since it was announced abruptly with no preparation period, the Meiji Government had to have local governments deal with aftercare services for liberated women in pleasant quarters, particularly prostitutes, such as finding new jobs and compensating for their lost income. Such being the case, the Geishogi Kaiho Rei didn't really function as a law; thus it didn't make a big difference in the condition of those women.

The Geishogi Kaiho Rei wasn't very effective in changing the situation directly; however, as its by-product, in some regions, opportunities for women to study and to achieve vocational skills for light industry were created with the intent of preventing poor peasants from selling their daughters into prostitution. After the middle of Meiji period, many of these women's educational and vocational institutions formed the basis of manufacture, where female labor was recognized and utilized.

[Original Japanese]