Egi Kinkin (江木欣々)

Kinkin EGI (January 30, 1877 - February 20, 1930) was a wife of Makoto (his name can also be pronounced Chu) EGI who was a law scholar in the Meiji period. Her real name was Eiko. She gave herself the second name of Kinkin or Kinkinei (欣々栄). It is also said that the year of birth was 1879. Tokuji HAYAKAWA, the founder of SHARP Corporation was her younger maternal half-brother.

She was referred to as one of the three beautiful women of the Taisho period, along with Takeko KUJO and Byakuren YANAGIHARA.

Eiko was born to Shinpei SEKI, the Ehime prefectural governor who had an intimate relationship with his maid, Hanako FUJITANI. Eiko was adopted out and then became a maiko (apprentice geisha) in a hanamachi (geisha district) around Kobusho (military training institute) near Kanda Myojin-Shrine because her adoptive family became badly off.

At the age of 16, Eiko became a legal wife of a son of Ariyoshi, Karo (chief retainer) of the Hosokawa clan in the Kyushu region after he bought her contractual freedom. However, her husband died of illness just a year later. She was dismissed from the Ariyoshi family and then came back to the Karyukai (world of the geisha).
She moved to Shinbashi this time and served again in Matsuya as a hangyoku (child geisha) under the name of 'Botan (tree peony).'

Eiko gained a reputation as a beautiful geisha in Shinbashi and then got married to Makoto EGI.

Inviting persons involved to her home, she threw parties, which functioned as a place for social interaction. Eiko became a star, showing her wide-ranging hobbies of and talent in poetry, calligraphy, tenkoku (seal-engraving) and yokyoku (Noh song).

She lost her husband in 1925. In 1930, she killed herself by hanging in Tokuji HAYAKAWA's home in Osaka.

She is known as a model of 'Tsukiji Akashi Cho,' the masterpiece by Kiyokata KABURAGI, a painter of Bijinga ("Beautiful Woman Picture") (but it is also said that the model was Maseko, her younger paternal half-sister).

[Original Japanese]