People collect the strangest things:

A few fetishists have not only delved deeply into this topic, but have actually assembled collections. One such gent, according to Shozo Saito, the head of the Odawara municipal library and researcher into things sexual, was a chap who went by the nom de plume of Takishima Kinkaran,

Kinkaran was born in Tokyo in 1893 and could often be found frequenting brothels in the Hakusan area, which was established in June 1912 as Tokyo’s newest licensed bordello district, not far from the University of Tokyo campus.

Kinkaran was said to be a man of great personal charm, and one of his pet projects was to persuade geisha to contribute their pubic hair, which, he would tell them, he was collecting in order to stuff a zabuton cushion. Alas, he died prematurely of a respiratory illness at the age of 37, and it is not known how far along his zabuton project ever progressed.

Historian Shimokawa introduces a gentleman named Takao Hanada, who is fondly remembered in the postwar period for being the first person to organize wife swapping in Japan, and later authored a book entitled “Exchange: a record of certain swapping encounters.”

After a swap session, Hanada would sort the pubic hairs collected from his female partners and tape them to the reverse sides of their husband’s business cards. Sex-reseacher Saito says he was able to view a collection of some 150 cards accumulated by Hanada over a period of 10 years.

Perusing the backs of these cards, he was able to appreciate the wonderful variety of lengths, shapes and textures of the hairs in Hanada’s collection.

Hanada had collaborated in his project with a chap named Zenkichi Nagano, who at that time the fiftyish director of a regional bank. After going around and soliciting women at local drinking establishments with little success, Nagano decided he would have to change his technique.

“He went to bars and cabarets and asked hostesses for samples,” Saito tells Shimokawa. “After plying them with a few drinks, he’d make his pitch, saying, ‘I want your pubic hair.'”

Too embarrassed to do this in places where he might be recognized, Nagano would take the train one or two hours to another town or into Tokyo. Offering a 10,000-yen tip as an incentive, the gals would excuse themselves, slip into the powder room, and return to the table and pass him the goodies.

“More than just receiving money, some women saw this as forming a personal relationship, so to speak,” says Saito. “Perhaps Nagano finally got used to being treated as eccentric, or perhaps once the women realized he was harmless, they became more cooperative, they warmed to his advances and the whole mood changed.

“Anyway, it got to the point that a few gals would even drop their panties right in front of him and allow him to harvest hairs from them on the spot.”

Nagano eventually obtained 200 specimens, which he wrapped in traditional Japanese “washi” paper and saved in photo albums, organized according to the locations from which he’d collected them.

Nagano was said to have remarked that he never managed to have sex even once with any of the “contributors.”

“Somehow, I initially felt a sense of regret over this point, but now it gives me a feeling of pride,” Nagano supposedly boasted.

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