Yoshida Ginjiro’s craft obsessed him. From the moment he was apprenticed with old Watanabe, the shell of the venerable tortoise fascinated him. Hard and durable when cool, pliant and malleable after boiling in water, it could be cut with a saw, curled, bent, embossed, engraved, textured and polished. It could put to a thousand uses: amour for samurai, hair combs for women, boxes for the secretive, picture frames for the lonely, spoons and chopsticks — an endless list.
Having obtained a good position in his master’s workshop at the age of twenty-two, Ginjiro acquired a wife. Kaori was a potter’s daughter. Although not particularly beautiful — a little bony, in fact — she had a pleasant face and, more importantly, she was sweet and tender and clever about managing the household. At first, as was common in those times, there was no love between them. But they were both kind people and kind to one another. Over time, they grew to care for each other very much and learned to be attentive to each other’s comforts.
As Ginjiro attained proficiency as a craftsman, he began to focus his efforts on one type of object to the exclusion of all others. His reputation as a maker of fine tortoise shell dildos spread through the region. He obtained commissions from a few noble families in the area to produce dildos of specific shapes and sizes, weights and styles. Sometimes, they even asked him to carve particular motifs into them — secret signs of affection between lovers or family crests.
As the commissions became more specific and elaborate, Ginjiro felt the need to ensure the quality of his work. One day, with some hesitation, he brought home a prototype of a design he was working on.
After finishing their evening meal, Ginjiro cleared his throat awkwardly. “Kaori, my dear, will you do me a favor? I’m concerned about my work and perhaps you could help?”
His wife nodded demurely, still clearing the dishes. “Of course, Ginjiro.”
He pulled his work satchel open and drew out his latest piece of work, carefully wrapped in a fine piece of silk. Kaori sat with her hands in her lap, full of expectation. He offered it to her and, after wiping her hands energetically on her yukata, she took it with exaggerated reverence.
She smiled, bobbed her head, and carefully drew the edges of the silk aside. The patterned cylinder glinted in the lamplight. “Oh, Ginjiro, it’s beautiful.” She delicately turned it, protecting it from her fingers with the silk. “How can I help?”
“Well,” Ginjiro gave a little cough. “Could you give it a try and tell me what you think?”
Kaori smiled, but there was something vague about the way she nodded. Casting her gaze back to the object, she nibbled at her lower lip. “Certainly, but… how do I try it? What is it?”
Suddenly Ginjiro felt like a fool. It had never occurred to him to tell her exactly what he made at the workshop. And Kaori, having come from a poor family, would have never set eyes on an object like this before. Only the wealthy could afford this sort of thing.
“It’s a tool for pleasuring women.”
Kaori stared at him for a moment, before holding the object up, turning it in her hand. Then she burst into laughter. “This is…oh, my dear…like a daikon radish, only for rich people!”
He waited a little impatiently for her to stop laughing. “Yes, a daikon for rich people. So, will you give it a try and tell me how it feels?”
Suppressing her giggles, she wrapped the piece back up and nodded. “Now?”
“Well, if you wouldn’t mind. I’d like to fix any problems with it tomorrow.”
It was then that Ginjiro realized that Kaori appeared confused. “Is… is anything wrong, my dear?”
“No,” she whispered and got to her feet, still clutching the silk wrapped dildo in both hands. “I’ll just try it — alone — if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, yes, of course! By all means, my dear,” said Ginjiro. He hadn’t imagined he would feel uncomfortable about this — after all, these were his works of art — but somehow, he did.
Gazing into the hearth fire, he waited with only the songs of amorous crickets outside for company. He closed his eyes and strained to hear any noise from the bedroom, but his wife was silent. After a while, Ginjiro grew bored and set himself to imagining a series of cricket figures embossed up the side of a large dildo. He became lost in the puzzle of how to produce an interlocking latticework pattern of them.
Kaori’s footsteps broke his reveries. She quietly knelt down beside him, and handed over the wrapped dildo.
“Well?” he asked earnestly.
Kaori, whose cheeks were slightly flushed, pushed a wisp of hair off her forehead. “It works,” she said.
Ginjiro nodded gravely. “But…” he searched for the exact answers he needed. “Does it feel right? Does it cause any discomfort? Is it…pleasurable?”
“Oh, yes!” she said, nodding, a darker blush overtaking the pink on her flushed cheeks.
“Is there anything that, perhaps, would make it better?” asked Ginjiro gently. “Please, I’d like to know.”
His wife thought for a moment and said: “My hand began to slip when I became… moist. Some sort of ridges on the end would stop that.”
“Okay. Ridges,” Ginjiro noted. “And, anything else?”
“Well, I think it might be better if it curved a little. Like yours,” she said, smiling and giving him a sideways glance. “Then it would touch some of the pleasurable parts on the inside of me, like yours does.”
It was Ginjiro’s turn to color. “Curve…excellent! Anything else?” This was all very valuable information, Ginjiro realized. He pulled a piece of parchment out of his satchel and began writing down her comments with a stick of charcoal.
“Would it be possible to make the tip more lifelike? With a bit of a flare under the tip?”
“Oh, does that matter? I didn’t think women cared that much.”
Kaori raised an eyebrow at her husband. Her smile was enigmatic. “That little bump is very important. I would miss it greatly if it wasn’t there.”
Even as Ginjiro scribbled down her remarks, he felt his own cock twitching to life. It had never occurred to him that she appreciated his member so much or that she thought about it in such a detailed way. The thought made him very proud, and very horny.
Putting down his notes, he reached over and stroked her still glowing cheek. “Would you like to feel it now?” he said, smiling.
She got to her feet wordlessly, beaming, and pulled her husband into the bedroom.
* * *
The next day when he arrived home, Ginjiro was full of apprehension. Without even waiting until after dinner, he handed Kaori another silk-wrapped dildo and asked her to try it.
Again, she nodded and retreated to the bedroom. It was with considerable relief that Ginjiro heard soft gasps and moans emanating from the room. His corrections to the design had obviously improved it. Less than five minutes later she emerged from the little alcove that was their bedroom, her face gleaming with sweat, her hair in total disarray. She hadn’t even bothered to adjust her yukata.
“Well?” He smiled at her.
She returned his smile. “That… that was much, much better. All the adjustments you have made give great pleasure, Ginjiro. Great pleasure! I, oh! I’m quite…” She fell silent, busying herself with her hair and straightening her robe as best she could. It was clear she liked his newest piece of art.
Ginjiro was overcome with pride, but he wanted to make sure that there was nothing that would improve the dildo even further. “Is there anything that might make it better?”
“Anything?” Kaori thought, her eyes rising to the ceiling. “Well, it could perhaps be a little more curved, just toward the end.”
“More curved! Excellent!”
He packed the dildo back up in is satchel, but dinner would have to wait. Her enthusiasm was so erotic, her disarray so alluring. Ginjiro pulled Kaori down onto the tatami mat surrounding the hearth and made love to her right there.
* * *
As word spread of Ginjiro’s dildos, buyers came from all over the prefecture. Master Watanabe was happy but perplexed. It was usually his body armor and helmets that made the most money. This unexpected new stream of revenue took him by surprise. With each new commission, Ginjiro brought his work home and had his wife test it out.
Her criticisms became more specific, requiring more notations, and they ceased to make love after each sampling. He was so busy and so eager to make the adjustments; Ginjiro rushed back to the workshop to make the changes the very same evening. Then, by the time he returned home, he was too tired to make love to his wife.
As the dildo business heated up, Ginjiro and Kaori chilled towards each other; their exchanges were courteous, cursory and, as no child came, the ice began to set.
When Ginjiro brought home a dildo, Kaori wouldn’t even try it. She held it up, hefted the weight, looked at the outline and said: “Too long, too light, and not enough texture!” She returned it to his outstretched palm with a smack and turned her attention to domestic chores.
* * *
One day, while Ginjiro was polishing one of his larger pieces, a young apprentice rushed into his workroom.
“Master Yoshida, come quickly! A great lady has come from Edo. A very, very beautiful lady — asking for you! By name! You should see her palanquin and the retinue that accompanies her. I think she might be the Empress.” The last sentence was delivered in a conspiratorial whisper.
Ginjiro put down his work and, dusting himself off and removing his work apron, walked into the main workshop. One glance at the visitor cleared things up. She wasn’t the Empress. He knew this because he’d once seen a woodcut of the Empress and she was rather short and squat. She was, however, a very rich and celebrated Geisha.
Ginjiro bowed low. “I am he, and very honoured to welcome you to our humble workshop.”
This interchange was made more difficult by the fact that the geisha, who was far superior in status to Ginjiro, bowed almost as low as he did, which forced him to bow lower still. It took some time before each of them felt that the formalities were adequate.
“You, Yoshido-sama, are a man who knows about women! I was lucky enough to be loaned an object that, I believe, you made. I would like to commission a similar piece.”
Ginjiro bowed again, deeply complimented. “I hope my work might be worthy of your attention, Lady.”
“Oh, I know it will,” said the geisha. She edged a little closer to him and added in a low voice. “But I would like a little change to the design, if you don’t mind.”
“It would be my pleasure to attend to your requirements. What would you liked changed?”
The geisha’s eyes, bright and sharp, slid from left to right and back again. “Might we speak in private?’
Ginjiro led the geisha into his workroom and closed the shoji screens behind them. It was not usual for a woman of rank to be alone with a simple craftsman, but the request for confidential discussions had become so common with his work, he took it in his stride. “Please feel free to speak frankly, Honoured Lady.”
“Well,” she whispered, leaning towards him. “I’d like you to make it a little bigger.”
He gave a reserved nod. “Could you indicate how much bigger you would like it? In length and in girth?”
The geisha considered for a moment. “The length is actually fine, but could you make it thicker?” Her delicate hands fluttered upwards and gracefully touched thumb to thumb and forefinger to forefinger, indicating a girth that was a little larger than the thickness of a normally sized man’s penis. “Like this.”
Ginjiro recorded the diameter with a piece of thread, marking the width with a knot.
“That should not be a problem, Honoured Lady. Are there any other changes you require?”
Her eyes flitted over the chaos of his workshop: wooden models of his most popular pieces, his tools, his boiling vat. She walked over to his workbench and slid her fingertip over an embossed tortoise shell plaque that hung above it. “These bumps are nice. Could those be added along the length?”
He closed his eyes for a moment, thinking about how to execute the change. The piece would need to embossed while flat and then curled — carefully — then softened again and worked. The difficulty would be in effecting a neat join while leaving the embossing intact. “I think so,” he said honestly. “It might be possible. I’ll have to do some experimenting.”
She gave him something more enthusiastic than her earlier formalized geisha smile. “I am confident that you, master of these objects of pleasure, can do anything. Anything!”
She pushed the screens aside and stepped out into the main workshop. “Make me ten!” she called as she walked out onto the street and climbed aboard her palanquin.
* * *
It took three days and five prototypes to coax the tortoise shell into doing what he wanted. He ate at the workshop and slept there too. When finally he arrived home with his newest creation, Kaori nodded grimly and handed him a bowl of miso soup.
He didn’t touch his bowl. “Could you take a look at something, my dear?”
She rolled her eyes and sighed. “Let’s see it then.”
With enormous pride, Ginjiro pulled out his masterpiece. He unwrapped it himself and held it out for her but she didn’t reach for it.
“I’m sure it will be fine,” she snapped. “They’re all fine.”
“But this one is special, Kaori. This is a specific commission from a very famous geisha from Edo. It has to be perfect. If this one’s a success, we’ll be rich, my dear. Rich!”
Kaori looked down, wiping her hands on her apron and mumbled, “I don’t want to be rich, Ginjiro. I just want a husband.”
Nonetheless, she took the dildo, hefted the weight of it in her hand and held it up to the light. The head was slightly deformed, its length a little exaggerated. The cleft was deep all the way to the flared edge of the crown. Along the shaft, raised and finely embossed dolphins cavorted in flowing waves. She returned it to him after a moment. “You’re right, Ginjiro. This is special. The finest you’ve ever brought home. I’m sure your customer will be very happy with it.”
“Could you try it, please, Kaori? Just this once? This is the most important piece I’ve ever made. And if the geisha likes it,” Ginjiro pressed the dildo back against Kaori’s chest, “I could leave Watanabe’s and start my own workshop.”
His wife’s expression softened under the onslaught of his petitions.
“Please, my dear. It would be such a favor to me.”
Kaori walked into the bedroom and pulled the shoji screens closed. Sitting, Ginjiro sipped at his bowl of cooling soup, hoping to hear sounds of pleasure coming from the room behind him.
“Ginjiro?” called his wife, softly.
“Yes, my dear?”
“Can you bring me a little sesame oil? It’s beside the hearth, next to the sake.”
Not a good sign, thought Ginjiro. Perhaps he hadn’t brushed it off well enough after the final polishing and the piece required cleaning? He found the jar of oil and hurried into the bedroom.
Kaori lay on the futon, kimono pulled apart to reveal her moon-pale body. A small oil lamp burned by the side of the bed, casting her profile in shadow against the wall. Ginjiro knelt down beside her and handed her the oil.
“Is it dusty, my dear?”
“No. I’m just not feeling very… aroused. The dildo is big and it won’t go in easily.”
“Is it rough? Does it need more polishing?” he asked, a little concerned.
Kaori looked up at him in dismay. She poured a little oil into her hand and smoothed it over the dildo. “There’s nothing wrong with the dildo, Ginjiro! It’s me. Don’t you understand?”
Suddenly, the intimacy of what she had done for him all these years — trying each new design, taking his creations into her body, telling him exactly how each dildo felt — became clear to him.
“Oh, my dear!” he exclaimed, his voice hoarse with new emotion.
Her vulnerability tore at his heart. What had he done? How could he have been such a selfish, wretched husband? He’d used Kaori, not for his passion, but for his profit and his reputation. A wave of shame washed over him.
Gingiro rested his cheek on his wife’s pale, modest chest. “I’m so sorry, my love. So very sorry! Leave the stupid thing be. It doesn’t matter. ”
Her chest moved beneath him; he felt her stifle a sob. “It’s alright, Ginjiro. I know your work is important to you. And you’ve provided for me better than many husbands might. A wife must help her husband in all things.”
She reached down between her legs and began to insert the dildo, but Ginjiro covered her hand with his own and stopped her.
“No,” he whispered, kissing her cheek. “Never again will I use you this way.”
She turned her head and kissed his lips, slipping the other arm around his neck. It had been so long since they had shared even this simple intimacy, it seemed strangely new. His heart, like a piece of coal on a morning hearth, seemingly cold, broke open and a flare of heat emerged. Ginjiro deepened the kiss, opening her mouth with his tongue. All the useless pride and ambition melted away in the sudden burst of passion and he poured into her mouth with his kiss.
His lips loved from hers, down her throat, trailing his lips over her skin, tasting the salt of a day’s work. He nuzzled one breast and then covered it with his mouth, feeling the nipple come to life as his tongue worried it.
Small, work-worn fingers brushed against his cheek. She raised her head, and pressed her mouth to his ear, her soft breaths coming faster. Ginjiro felt the hand around the dildo move, pressing inwards. Gently he replaced her grip with his own and, for the first time in his life, directed his own creation to its purpose. Kaori’s raised one of her legs, and angled her hips, moaning as the bulbous tip slid between her outer lips and nudged at her inner passage.
Ginjiro looked into his wife’s face. “Are you sure, my love?”
Her eyes were half-closed. She nodded and wrapped her arms about his neck, pulling him back into another deep kiss. As he eased the exaggerated head of dildo inside her, a low, deep groan broke from her throat.
It was only when she blindly fumbled under his own clothes and, after much scrabbling, took his cock in her hand, did he realize that he was aroused — more aroused than he’d ever been in his life. Kaori squeezed him as he pressed the dildo deeper, her stroke as slow and measured as his own patient progress.
As he embedded it fully, feeling the resistance as it reached the end of her passage, Kaori broke the kiss, lying back and panting.
“It’s…it’s very big,” she panted. Her hand slick with sesame oil moved with long, slow strokes over Ginjiro’s cock.
He shuddered and his cock twitched in her hand. “Too big?”
Kaori’s gaze fluttered and then settled on his. Her dark pupils pulled him into the knowing of her pleasure. “No. Not too big. But… go slowly.”
How wonderful, how secretive is a woman’s body, Ginjiro thought. He began, mindful of her instructions, to slowly move the implement in and out of her cunt. He used the pace of her stroking as his guide.
Her eyelids closed and a beautiful, resplendent expression suffused her face. The sinews of her neck stood out as she arched it, her lips parted and spread in a delicious smile.
“Does it fit well, my dear?”
“Oh, yes! It fits…” Kaori’ panted. “Just…just perfectly.”
Slowly the stroking of his cock gathered speed and intensity. Ginjiro matched her, fucking her steadily with his precious creation.
It wasn’t easy. Her warm, slippery grasp, the sounds of her arousal, and the sight of her undulating body were terrible distractions. But the realization, that this thing he had created with his own hands could bring her so much pleasure, stayed him from his orgasm.
She trembled. Her belly muscles rippled beneath her flesh. “Oh! My love!” she cried, arching her hips off the futon, “My love!”
Ginjiro held the dildo inside her, nudging firmly at the base of her passage while she came. The violence of her orgasm echoed in her grasp of his cock, and he noted its ebb as she loosened her grip and began to stroke him again.
Kaori let her hips drop to the mattress, sighing. Now, the look of deep satisfaction that washed over her face, the rosy flush that crept across her chest, the smile that lingered on her mouth…all those things drove Ginjiro into a lustful trance. Still holding his dildo embedded, he moved, pushing his pulsing cock through his wife’s grasp over and over, until he came, moaning, bathing her hand in his warm seed and collapsing beside her.
For many minutes they lay together silently until Kaori reached between her legs and withdrew Ginjiro’s creation. He looked down at his work, streaked with his wife’s juices and then back at her.
“Is there anything…”
“It’s perfect,” she said, anticipating his question. “But I have a favor to ask you, now, Ginjiro.”
He smiled and pulled her into his arms. “Anything. Anything!”
“Make one for me.”