Prostitution in Tuthina
While legal in the majority of countries in Esquarium, prostitution in Tuthina is considerably more famous than its foreign counterparts. Although commonly seen as one of the most reactionary polities in Esquarium, Tuthina and its government greatly support its native prostitution culture in official capacity as a substantial, if not fundamental part of its culture. As such, it receives significantly more widespread acceptance than in many other polities, even if compared with those considered much more socially liberal.
Despite connotation of of the term "prostitution", sexual interaction is not considered to be a crucial part of service in prostitution in the Kyriarchate, especially for those with a higher social rank. Instead, the primary service offered by all but the lowest class of Tuthinan prostitutes is non-sexual in nature, including different kinds of art, performances, entertainment, as well as intellectual and emotional company to the clientèle.
Frequently employed by the upper echelon of Kyriarchal society, the highest-ranking prostitutes are among the most well-connected and learnt individuals within the country. Their conceived pivotal position as one interacting extensively with both aristocrats and commoners, as well as being well-educated, resulted in them holding enormous influence on decision-making process of their patrons and, by extension, administration of the entire country.
- 1 Etymology and terminology
- 2 Origin and history
- 3 Brothel
- 4 Prostitute
- 5 Supporting Personnel
- 6 Etiquette
Etymology and terminology
In many languages in Tuthina, the word for "prostitution" bear connotation towards skill and talent, indicating their defining skill not necessarily being related to sexual service.
In Syodongmun, the character used for prostitution, 伎 (Literary Tuthinan: gye), originated as an alternative form of 技, or skill, with the "person" radical. Together, its literal meaning can be translated as "skilled person".
In many Romance languages, gye is translates as prostituta or its derivatives. Believed to originally mean "put up for sale" or "put forward", it was first used to translate the word during the early Palingenetic period of Tuthina about a millennium ago, where the Kyriarchate began regular contact with Romance languages-speaking cultures through trade. Although the word has since gained the meaning of paid sexual service, it remained in use to translate gye, often lead to confusion on the nature of its profession.
In some modern translations, some have often for different translations with less connotation with sexual interaction, although many of them pose their own problems - courtesan, the most commonly-used new translation, often cause ambiguity between gye, prostitute, and female jïk'khëk, courtier, while excluding the existence of male gye, all of which common presence in Kyriarchal court life and decision-making process.
Origin and history
It is commonly believed that like in many other cultures, prostitution is one of the oldest professions for Tuthinan civilisation. Already practised when writing was first introduced to the Home Islands by 4,000 BP, oral tradition, many of which being carried by prostitutes or their spiritual predecessors, suggested that it might have an even longer history.
Most scholars believe that prostitution in Tuthina began in the proto-Kamist tradition of "walking priests". Before the foundation of the Kyriarchate and subsequent organisation of Kamist priesthood into an integral part of the administrative system, the vast majority of Kamist clergy were not associated with any particular sacred grounds or settlements. Instead, they were wanderers who travelled between those places, both to offer blessings and to transfer and exchange knowledge and skill between people.
Oral traditions and written historical records suggest that sexual interaction, although not as commonly as widely believed, was nonetheless a common part of many Kamist rituals performed by walking priests, usually with the intent of spiritual purification.
Walking priests carried knowledge and skills deemed important by many people, including religious rituals, horticulture and midwifery, and were responsible for educating both different tribes and future successors. As such, they were revered by ancient Tuthinans across the archipelago, who saw them as religious figures, teacher of knowledge and vital medium for interaction and trade between groups.
The foundation of the Kyriarchate under the White King, who claimed to be the earthly manifest of the patron deity of humanity, had led to the development of the Ecclesiarchy, an organised form of Kamism. Seeking to unite all Kamist belief under its banner, as well as to assist its expansion and administration through the status of Kamist priesthood, the Kyriarchal government implemented recognition of clergy status, providing them permanent facilities to conduct religious rituals and secular education to settlements.
Despite the new-found duty under Kyriarchal administration, Kamist priesthood continued to carry their original duty to the settlement they inhabited. Historical records suggest many of them to be skilled administrators and assistants of aristocrats, with skills ranging from agriculture and engineering to counsellorship and religious rituals. In aboriginal vassals of the Kyriarchate , there are also records of priests and priestesses blessing warriors, as well as leading them in hunts and battles alike.
As settlements and their administration grew in size and complexity, so did the work of Kamist clergy, resulting in their specialisation. Reforms by Empress Myuwen in 7th century BCE saw the split between clergy focusing on conducting rituals, counselling aristocrats and administrating settlements. While the first group evolved into the current priesthood of the Ecclesiarchy, the last two groups would become the foundation of Tuthinan prostitutes, as they provided counsellorship and entertainment to their dedicated social class.
Merger of priesthood and gye
During the Age of Disorder, collapse of central authority and constant conflict between local rulers saw significant reduction of their wealth, making maintenance of exclusive counsellors difficult for many of them. This eventually saw their merge with the old gye class, which were artists and performers catering more to the warrior and merchant class of the people.
With the increasing secularisation of the class, activities pertaining to pleasure also became more dominant. While sexual interaction never truly supplanted other forms of carnal entertainment, physical attractiveness for the new, predominantly-male clientèle resulted in composition of gye increasingly leaning towards the more feminine genders. Based on compilation of historical records regarding wandering priests and gye, it is estimated that the amount of female rose from about 50% in pre-Kyriarchal period to around 75% during late Age of Disorder.
Although far from being conclusive, it has been suggested that at the time, female gye pertained more towards spiritual and emotional comfort of their clients, while feminine male gye were more specialised towards the more carnal pleasures, especially towards warrior class. Art and performance, however, did not have significant bias towards either group.
As wealth and influence of non-aristocrat class grew within Kyriarchal society, gye eventually fused with the "secular priesthood" as the primary providers of high-class entertainment, as well as those who specialised in satisfying carnal and spiritual needs outside religious function, leading to the birth of the more modern prostitution industry in the succeeding Palingenetic period.
Influx of foreign wealth and idea resulted in the rise of both urban merchant class and their prostitutes. Originally ambivalent towards secularisation of the old counsellor priests, the Kyriarchal government eventually recognise their new-found profession, leading to both codification of types of prostitutes and brothels alike, as well as their supporting staff.
Being on the forefront of contact with both the upper echelon of the Kyriarchate, as well as rich merchants introducing new ideas to them, high-ranking prostitutes were often among the first to adopt new forms of art, either from their clientèle or from skilled instructors hired from elsewhere. Having talent in similar native fields of art before, high-end brothels soon became major sources of art and culture within Tuthina, which further boosted their status among the upper class. As major nobles and even emperors employed them for service, prostitutes in Tuthina once against became elevated and revered like their precursors.
While counsellorship had always been part of their profession, it became increasingly valuable in the late Palingenetic period. As Tuthinan influence overseas waned in face of rising ideologies like nationalism and republicanism, more and more educated Tuthinans also join in similar discussion, either as opponents or as proponents. The origin of prostitutes as advisers, as well as their knowledge and experiences in interacting with all walks of life meant their input was commonly seen as valuable insights regarding the society as a whole. As such, prostitutes are often employed to be present in salons, as companions of participants, performers to entertain them, or advisers where inputs were required. Many leading figures of Greater Lahudic Commonwealth, who often were minor nobles or rich commoners, were reported to be common visitors of salons and brothels alike before the civil war.
In the wake of the Great Republican Uprising, demand for prostitution soared drastically. Being the deadliest conflict in Tuthinan history, many in the Kyriarchate were left widows and widowers, with many more traumatised by their experience in the war. At the same time, the Kyriarchal government also saw prostitution being valuable as a staple of Tuthinan high culture that could provide a common ground for the population "desperately in need of [non-political] identity".
As a result, postbellum Tuthina placed further emphasis in promoting its prostitution industry as an "integral part of [Tuthinan] culture", with significant amount of resource invested in it as one of the major targets for reconstruction. In particular, the Kyriarchal government invested heavily in prostitution in Himuka islands, which suffered significant damage during republican reign due to heavy casualties from the conflict and Elegy of Blood.
With less than half of its pre-war population alive and scattered across the country for reconstruction, there were concerns over destruction of Himuka culture. As such, the new wave of brothels in the archipelago was popularised as the vital means for reviving local culture. Today, the vast majority of brothels in Himuka were founded or re-founded after the civil war, with its prostitutes hailing from post-war orphans, or were juniors of them - prostitution was, and still is seen as a relatively easy way to promote oneself both financially and socially, and was considered a tempting choice by post-war orphans who were in need of both.
Prostitution remains a major service industry in Tuthina today, with about 420,000 Tuthinans serving as registered prostitutes in 2014, constituting 0.4% of the entire population distributed between 38,000 brothels. Estimated to employ several millions in total including supporting staff, prostitution is the largest, as well as one of the more profitable individual sector in Tuthinan economy.
In context of prostitution in Tuthina, brothel (Syodongmun: 伎院, Literary Tuthinan: gye'hwan /gi̯e.hu̯an/) refers to both the physical structure of which prostitutes and sometimes other related personnel resides, as well as the legal entity of which prostitutes operate under.
All brothels are required by law to be registered to the Office of Cultural Affairs under the Secretariat of Rites. They are categorised into three major classes, based on various factors including size, service quality and ranks of prostitutes under employment. Multiple sub-classes exist within the major classes, each with their own qualification and characteristics.
As the regulatory organ of the industry, the Office of Cultural Affairs is responsible for overseeing brothels to ensure both facility and service quality satisfy the standards based on category of the brothel in question. Brothels can have their class changed often, either by applying for a new class to the Office of Cultural Affairs, or by failing to adhere to service requirement of its existing class.
Despite its name, brothels in Tuthinan prostitution are not the predominant location where service of prostitutes are employed, especially for higher class establishments where such exchange is discouraged from occurring in brothels. This unspoken rule is rooted in tradition, where brothels served - and often still serve - as residence of prostitutes, and thus are supposed to be neutral grounds divorced from politics.
For lëw, the primary locales for exchange between prostitutes and their clients are normally third party establishments such as salons, boutique hotels and resorts - collectively known as hwaykwan (Syodongmun: 㣛館) - usually during events and gatherings where their presence is desired. Although the choice of third party facilities was supposed to maintain neutrality and professionalism, many larger brothels have since acquired facilities of their own to provide services.
Lower class brothels like jay, less associated with machinations of the upper class, are unaffected by the taboo, and service often takes place in brothels and the rooms of prostitutes. Khwak, being the middling category, utilises both brothel and third party venues without significant preference to either side. As a general rule, brothels catering more to carnal needs are more likely to allow service being provided in their own establishment, while those focusing more on psychological needs tend to forbid business to be conducted in brothels.
Jay (/dzai̯/, Syodongmun: 寨, "stockade") is the lowest category of brothels in Tuthinan prostitution system. Its defining characteristic, compared with khwak and lëw, is that it provides primarily sexual service to its customers. While non-sexual service are sometimes also provided in jay, particularly those of higher class, they are generally considered secondary and inferior to that of khwak and lëw. Despite its intended function, multiple studies reveal that depending on its definition, between 20% and 50% of sessions in jay do not result in sex between customer and prostitute.
Intended to serve lower class commoners who are not eligible for upper class brothels, jay also bears the distinction of being the only major class of brothels that do not require membership to enjoy service. However, in order to reduce chance of unwanted pregnancy, as well as to prevent spread of sexually transmitted infections to prostitutes, jay that do not require membership for customer access are required by regulations to utilise barrier contraceptive in sexual interaction.
As they have the lowest requirement and start-up capital of all brothels in Tuthina, jay is the most numerous category within the classification system. For the same reasons, many jay are also small in scale, with some having only one prostitute who is also the legal owner of the brothel both in terms of the physical structure and the legal entity. Doubling as their usual residence, these one-person jay generally operate in private units of traditional Tuthinan longhouse due to their low cost.
However, as larger brothels are believed to be more resource-efficient, one-person jay tend to join with each other, sometimes converting the entire longhouse complex into a singular "pseudo-brothel". Colloquially called dayjay (/dai̯.dzai̯/, Syodongmun: 大寨, literally "big jay"), individual prostitutes still have legal authority over their own business, but otherwise opt to share their resource with other prostitutes to further their operation.
Another informal subcategory of jay is phawjay (/pʰau̯.dzai̯/, Syodongmun: 炮寨), which is commonly seen as the lowest tier of brothels within the system. Literally meaning "gun jay", the name originated from "firing gun" being an euphemism of having sex in many Tuthinan languages, which also indicates phawjay being distinct from other brothel types in that it is dedicated solely to sexual service, instead of merely leaning towards it like regular jay. Considered most similar to prostitution in other cultures, phawjay nonetheless comprises a minority of brothels in Tuthina. It is also the default status of foreign-originated brothels, both within the Kyriarchate and outside it when it is discussed within the context of Tuthinan prostitution.
Khwak (/kʰwak/, Syodongmun: 廓, "enclosure") is the intermediate class of Tuthinan brothels, situated above jay and below lëw. Because of its position between the more carnal jay and more spiritual lëw, khwak is often considered the more intermediate type of brothels, where sexual and non-sexual service hold similar importance in its service.
Unlike jay, which generally does not require pre-existing membership to utilise its services, khwak usually is private establishment that require membership for its clientèle. Apart from paying membership fee and observing a code of conduct, khwak (and lëw) patrons are required to undergo regular physical examination, which is also often provided by the brothels.
The difference between khwak and lëw is largely historical: when the three-category system of brothels was first implemented, lëw was mostly exclusive to upper class of the Kyriarchate, while those with financial means to visit high-class brothels but were not considered high enough in social status were only allowed to utilise khwak.
As patrons of lëw were - and still are - more involved in the decision-making process of the government, prostitutes working in lëw are expected to be more fluent in internal and sometimes external politics than their khwak counterpart, as well as being more skilled in entertainment for the gentry in general. It is also believed that lëw personnel - especially prostitutes - adheres to stricter secrecy rules due to their intimate contact with the rulers of the Kyriarchate, and thus potentially might do major harm by disclosing secrets to "inappropriate parties".
As the Kyriarchate gradually includes more and more middle class in its policy-making process, the boundary between lëw and khwak slowly breaks down, as individuals wealthy enough to visit khwak regularly became more often than not important enough to be allowed access to lëw. However, some of the more established lëw still retain heavy restrictions on its membership, while all but the most distinguished khwak are open to most who can afford its membership fee.
A sub-class of khwak is yu'khwak (Syodongmun: 𨒰廓, "amusement khwak"). As its name implies, yu'khwak pertains towards carnal pleasure including, but not limited to sexual service. While service of yu'khwak tend to be more risqué in nature, it nonetheless differs from jay in that non-sexual service is still an integral part of its trade.
Another minor subclass of khwak is dak (Syodongmun: 㡯, literally "house" or "wall [of house]"), also known as andak (安㡯, "comforting dak). Dak is usually smaller in scale, with the archetypical dak having only one or two chï'nyang and fewer than ten employees in total. Similar to supper club in other countries, dak offers a relaxed atmosphere for its similarly small pool of patron, usually for the whole evening, including both meal and heartly entertainment and companion.
Dak is believed to be a relatively modern invention, with written record that could be attributed to it dating back to no earlier than early modern age, where influx of workers into cities resulted in a high demand for the sensation of being at home while being far away from it.
Despite earlier writing concerning the category, dak is believed to have only assumed its modern form in the wake of the Great Republican Uprising. Massive devastation of the war itself, compounded by the post-war reconstruction, resulted in a significant portion of Tuthinan population being separated with their home and family. Although other classes of prostitutes were able to provide individual comfort and emotional support, the homecoming sensation special to dak resulted in them being greatly sought after, propelling it and chï'nyang working in it into mainstream.
Lëw (/ləu̯/, Syodongmun: 樓, "building") is the highest major class of brothels in Tuthina. Due to its elevated status, lëw as a whole is endorsed by the upper echelon of Tuthinan society, including the monarchy, aristocracy and other influential individuals. Traditionally catering to the ruling class of the country above others, it is not uncommon among the more ancient lëw to serve only a relatively small list of clients, membership of which being limited to nobility or "distinguished, exceptional individuals".
Despite its superior rank and name, lëw tend to be smaller in scale, with a roster of prostitutes usually not exceeding 20 in exchange of providing higher quality of service to its clientèle. As such, its prostitutes are usually more educated and skilled than that of other classes of brothels regardless of prostitute ranks. Some lëw in particular boast an exclusively high-ranking inventory, either relying on recruitment from other brothels, or lengthy training that ensures all prostitutes are qualified for suitably high rank upon completion.
Physically, structure of lëw, despite conventionally not open to clients and visitors, are nonetheless well-decorated and luxurious, providing some of the highest living quality in the Kyriarchate for its prostitutes, both to fulfil the scrupulous demands of its clients, and to demonstrate the wealth of influence the establishment has compared with the rest of Tuthinan society.
In order to maintain its prostitutes in optimal condition both externally and internally, lëw is often defined by its large supporting personnel, with some reportedly reaching up to 25 staff members for each prostitute. Apart from personal servants who cater to daily needs of prostitutes, lëw also employs a variety of talents from beauticians and fashion designers to tutors and etiquette consultants.
Serving the ruling aristocracy first and foremost, lëw is generally only accessible to Tuthinan citizens, or individuals with enough knowledge of the native culture to pass as one. The restriction is both due to its service being specialised for indigenous culture of the Home Islands, and fear of its knowledge of the aristocracy being exploited by foreign entities through accessing its service. Instead, a sub-class of lëw, called kwan (館, "manor"), is used to designate lëw dedicated to specific foreign cultures. Compared with lëw, kwan tend to receive less, although still substantial endorsement from Tuthinan high society. While intended to cater to valuable individuals from foreign countries, clientèle of kwan nonetheless consist primarily of native Tuthinans who are interested in enjoying service from different foreign cultures.
Generally, lëw does not provide sexual service to its clientèle regardless of ranks of prostitutes under employment, as intimate interactions might be constructed as the brothel favouring one side of the aristocracy above others and thus violating its customs of being a neutral party in Kyriarchal politics. However, individual prostitutes are usually allowed to have sexual interaction if they want to, but only outside the brothels and working hours.
Similar to brothels that employ them, all prostitutes in the Kyriarchate are registered to the Office of Cultural Affairs, and are categorised based on both their professional aptitude, skill and service branch they are trained in.
All prostitutes are required by law to operate under brothel, the legal entity of which being responsible for both the well-being of its employee and quality of service to the patrons. That said, it is not uncommon for individual prostitute to operate by oneself through establishing a brothel with the prostitute as its sole owner and personnel.
Nyolang (Syodongmun: 𠨰𨝥), or simply lang for male, is the default class of prostitute in Tuthinan prostitution, designating those who has yet to be recognised in their speciality, or those who choose to provide general entertainment as their service.
Nyolang form the backbone of Tuthinan prostitution industry, with up to two-third of all registered prostitutes belonging to this category. The type name is often erroneously translated as "working prostitute", due to misconception of non-nyolang prostitutes do not provide intimate service to their patrons.
Hwalang (Syodongmun: 䔢𨝥, unisex) are prostitutes who cater primarily to the military force of the Kyriarchate. Apart from the more specified clientèle, hwalang are similar to nyolang in that they provide general entertainment for both carnal and spiritual pleasure. However, performance and entertainment provided by hwalang tend to be more athletic and physical in nature compared with their nyolang counterpart.
Despite hwalang being a sub-category of prostitutes, it is believed that the tradition of sacred prostitution in Tuthina is believed to date back to the beginning of ancient Kamism of the aboriginal population. Contrast to the wandering priests who eventually evolved into prostitution in Tuthinan culture, the predecessors of hwalang were sedentary priests who live among their tribes and cater to them.
Majority of Tuthinan aboriginal cultures, even those commonly seen as "warrior culture", consider killing, especially of human, to be spiritually corrupting regardless of reason. To remedy the effect, these tribes often maintain a dedicated clergy class that acts as a source of both morale and morality for the people, catering to their carnal and spiritual need. While many ancient traditions of the Kyriarchal military were no longer practised in modern age, the use of hwalang to support military units persist to this day, especially in places where other types of prostitutes are unavailable, or when dedicated care is deemed necessary.
While usually not official members of the military, many hwalang opt to undergo basic military training and are generally considered honorary members of the armed forces. It is believed that receiving military training and being armed both allow hwalang to connect to their patrons more, and enable them to defend themselves against enemies should the need arises.
Hwalang also differs from other types of Tuthinan prostitutes in that not all hwalang have complete training from brothels, although many of them do. Due to the nature of their job, hwaland often lives alongside military units that they are deployed to. As Kyriarchal military often dispatch expeditionary force to foreign countries, logistic stress sometimes prevent a unit from receiving sufficient hwaling for morale purposes. As such, it is not uncommon for the military to allow employing local population as auxiliary hwaling after providing basic training for them.
Chï'nyang (/tsʰɨ.njaŋ/, 饎孃), or chï'nyak for male, is the prostitute type dedicated to food-related service, in particular alcoholic drink, as indicated by the name. However, while they are trained in culinary arts, it is not common for them to cook for their patrons due to its usually time-consuming nature. Instead, they more often offer their service in the form of gastronomy, foodpairing, nutritional guide and other similar subjects, as well as different forms of food-related intimacy. Some of the higher-ranking chï'nyang also serve as food writers both in paper publications and on the national intranet.
Kyriarchal historians believe that the tradition of chï'nyang originated from the yek relay station network established in classical period of the Empire. Responsible for communication across the country, relay stations were equipped with accommodations like taverns for messengers to rest and rejuvenate. Chï'nyang - originally referring to tavern workers - were said to be well-received by messengers, with them serving prepared food and alcohol to weary couriers after lengthy rides across stations in bad weather, and providing comfort through intimacy to quell homesickness.
Despite breakdown of cross-country communication during the opening days of Age of Disorder, the yek system remained in use, even expanded in size as its infrastructure was adopted by warring factions for military purpose. Having similar needs with messengers, chï'nyang continued to serve passing-by soldiers and warriors, often overlapping and working together with hwalang.
Following the end of Age of Disorder and unification of the archipelago, yek resumed its function as country-wide communication network. However, the increased demand for information and thus messengers was not enough to compensate for previous demand from deployed military personnel. As a result, many chï'nyang moved to larger settlements in pursuit of customers.
While some became prostitutes like hwalang they have worked with in previous period, many retained their business model in inns and taverns, catering more to merchants, workers and - later - sailors, who have high demand for the more "homecoming" atmosphere they provided. As long-distance maritime trade became dominant in Tuthinan foreign trade, chï'nyang business soon saw major expansion in most trading ports across the country. As such, it was inducted into the larger prostitution industry of the Empire during middle Palingenetic period, observing Kyriarchal government oversight in exchange of recognition of status and support from the government.
While many brothels employ chï'nyang as part of their prostitute roster, they are most commonly known for solely comprising the roster of a subtype of khwak known as dak. Dedicated to service not dissimilar to foreign supper club, dak is a small sub-category of khwak staffed entirely with chï'nyang type prostitute. Although many still utilised non-prostitute staff for cooking, some have chï'nyang themselves cooking for the patrons as they return "home" as selling point. In those cases, chï'nyang provide not only food-related service, but also relaxing atmosphere and related household-themed entertainment.
Thangnyo (/tʰaŋ.njo/, Syodongmun: 湯𠨰), or thangnyak for male, is a type of prostitute specialised in service pertaining to bathing. Originally limited to cleaning patrons through scrubbing, thangnyo soon saw their service expanding to include many other forms in intimate interaction such as massage.
Thangnyo and thangnyak had their roots in ancient Kamist ritual purification. As it is believed that only a clean body can be vessel of clean soul, priests and nobles - sometimes even commoners - are required to cleanse themselves regularly, especially before and after entering sacred grounds in fear of contamination. Due to its importance, thangnyo and thangnyak were required to properly clean others' body, usually through scrubbing.
As the Kamist Most Serene Empire expanded in size and population, natural hot springs and water source for cleansing could no longer satisfy demand for them. As such, public baths came into being, either as free public utility maintained by Kamist clergy or paid service for those who could afford more private service.
Drastic expansion of public baths during Age of Disorder also saw its increase in complexity. Thangnyak were used mostly for menial labour like gathering firewood and operating boiler for hot water, while thangnyo helped the bathing ones clean their body before entering the bath pool proper.
It is believed that bath house workers began offering more intimate service to its patrons as a rule rather than exception during Age of Disorder, as many of their users used baths between battles for ritual cleansing. Although there are dedicated comfort providers like hwalang and sometimes chï'nyang, thangnyo were also inducted into the system, either due to the intimate nature of their existing work, or a lack of available prostitutes during large military campaigns.
Similar to chï'nyang, thangnyo extended their service to general population following the end of Age of Disorder, and later becoming part of the larger prostitution industry along with them. Compared with them, thangnyo tend to cater to lower class of the population, as the nature of public baths allow them to serve more customers in the same time span.
Today, thangnyo are employed by most brothels large enough to incorporate bathing facility. Usually of higher class, they are responsible for cleaning and dressing the clientèle to maintain a level of sanitation and appearance fitting for their class. Lower class thangnyo, on the other hand, tend to work in yok'uk (/jok.ʔuk/, 浴𦤿), a sub-category of jay brothels built as bath houses or on hot springs, as its main prostitutes.
Like brothels under which they operate, prostitutes belong to a hierarchy in addition to their specialisation, all of them combined together to determine the usual duty and privilege a prostitute is entitled by law and customs. Similar to brothel category change, prostitute rank promotion is overseen by the Office of Cultural Affairs. However, it is not uncommon for brothels to delay promotion or - more rarely - promote before official affirmation for various reasons, including balance of number between ranks, physical limitation or differing standards.
Prostitute ranks are collectively called be (Syodongmun: 牌). Literally meaning "[name] plate", the term originated from the practice of writing names of prostitutes on plates hung on a wall near the entrance to indicate their availability. Apart from difference in name, different markings were also used to indicate the rank and popularity of prostitutes, which eventually became codified to assign position in hierarchy.
Similar to many ranking system in the Empire, prostitute ranks generally forego ordinal numbers in favour of the more poetic floral rank based on the Three Friends of Winter, namely zyong (pine) tyuk (bamboo) and muy (prunus) in ascending order. However, regulation and law documents use plain ordinal numbers (sam, ni and it in ascending order) instead for clarity.
Zyongbe, also known as sambe in law, is the lowest tier of prostitute in Tuthinan prostitution, as well as the starting tier for all prostitutes by default. While smaller brothels usually feature autonomous zyongbe, zyongbe in most larger brothels tend to be apprentice and disciple of higher-ranking prostitutes.
Upon graduating from the apprentice class sinjaw, Zyongbe are entitled to their private room (mulo) in their brothel, both for residence and for private service to patrons where such is allowed in brothel. As such, zyongbe is also colloquially known as mulomoti ("[one] possessing a room") in Vernacular Tuthinan. Typically, private room of zyongbe features personalised decoration and collection of items that can enhance the individuality and selling point of its resident, although some brothels are known to enforce a more uniform residence for its own identity.
Customarily, zyongbe can be employed for private service with as few as three chek, roughly 56 USD as of 2017. However, cost can vary drastically depending on length of service, prostitute category, brothel and exact nature of the service, though it usually does not exceed 10 chek (185 USD).
Tyukbe, also known as nibe in law, is the intermediate rank between zyongbe and muybe. For the majority of khwak and lëw, 'tyukbe form the backbone of its workforce, with zyongbe mostly being apprentice who have yet to be qualified for providing service alone. As such, tyukbe plays a major role in Tuthinan prostitution.
Zyongbe are generally promoted to tyukbe after accumulating sufficient experience in their trade. While all are required to undergo audit by Office of Cultural Affairs and meet its required standard, many brothels have their own additional process to ensure their prostitutes satisfy their own criteria. For brothels where zyongbe is often assigned senior prostitute as tutor, tutelar approval is required for applying for promotion, while autonomous zyongbe usually are required to have accumulated certain amount of service length or clients before promotion.
Once promoted, tyukbe are entitled to their own private residence, which has to include both a bedroom and a living room in the brothel, leading to their colloquial name yamoti ("[one] possessing a flat") in Vernacular Tuthinan. While the bedroom continues to be a place for rest and some private service, customarily the majority of service to customer done in private residence is to be done in the living room, which is considered to be a relatively neutral space compared with bedchamber - with their new-found status, being invited into their bedchamber is considered a privilege only bestowed upon known and liked clients.
Despite being a higher rank than zyongbe, tyukbe service is not inherently more expensive. Like Zyongbe, the minimum cost of employing a tyukbe for service is three chek (roughly 56 USD as of 2017), although service charging beneath five chek (93 USD as of 2017) is exceedingly rare. On the other hand, tyukbe service can cost significantly more than zyongbe on higher level, with the traditionally accepted upper limit for a session (roughly two hours) at a hundred chek (1,850 USD as of 2017).
Muybe, also known as itbe officially and daybe ("big be") colloquially, is the highest official rank of the hierarchy in Tuthinan prostitution. Considered to be at the apex of the profession, muybe prostitutes are often seen as the epitome of the prostitution culture of the Empire despite being the least populated rank category.
Promotion to muybe from tyukbe generally requires proficiency in both etiquette and some form of art or performance. Compared with tyukbe, the process of brothels nominating for audit and the actual audit process by the government department is less disclosed to public. It is believed that in order to be eligible for promotion, tyukbe have to receive patronage from enough individuals of higher social standing such as high nobility, high-ranking officials or officers, or sufficiently wealthy commoners.
Requirement for artistic skill is also opaque to public, compounded by the subjective nature of art and performance. However, it is estimated that newly-promoted muybe have similar proficiency in art and performance as undergraduate of relevant subjects.
Apart from prostitutes, almost all brothels also employ a variety of specialists and workers to assist and maintain the daily function of the establishment, as well as the well-being of prostitutes.
Tok (Syodongmun: 禿, Vernacular Tuthinan: kanpuro, Ama Koy: thel ēpsta) is a term refers to all under-age female workers within a brothel, but is often used to specifically refer to young prostitute apprentices of all genders who are still too young or inexperienced to receive full training. While there are no set age limit on tok, it often aligns with traditional Tuthinan age of majority, which is between 12 to 15 depending on locations. Literally meaning "without hair", there are no consensus among scholars on the etymology of tok. However, most believe that it either refers to the kanpuro hairstyle of under-age Ka females that most tok adopted, or a reference to the lack of pubic hair of tok due to their young age.
Within the Kyriarchate, tok is often used as personal servants of prostitutes within a brothel, where they can observe and learn from them some basic skills and etiquettes concerning the industry. In all lëw and khwak, as well as many of the high-end chay, the brothel is also responsible for providing basic education of a myriad of subject, including art and performances, as well as academic subjects such as poetry and philosophy to enrich their skills and knowledge in order to prepare them for their future career. Contrast to popular stereotype, tok is not considered a class of prostitute despite it being a precursor of most of them. As a result of it, they cannot be required for any kind of service, especially sexual interaction due to their under-age status. In some of the stricter brothels, clientèle are barred from any form of interaction with tok both to protect the workers, as well as to prevent their immature nature causing unsatisfactory service.
Adult prostitute apprentices are called sincō (Syodongmun: 𢀝艁, Vernacular Tuthinan: atarasikitukuri, Ama Koy: saymantun), literally meaning "newly arrived" or "newly made". Although most sincō are promoted from tok upon adulthood, adults who have decided to join the prostitution industry, as well as former prostitutes who returned to the business are also considered their own sub-class of sincō. At this stage, individuals who are both mentally and physiologically capable of receiving the full training and education will be educated and trained by either senior prostitutes or dedicated educators of the brothel, learning a myriad of advanced skills and knowledge both sexual and non-sexual in nature to nurture them into professional prostitutes. Apart from that, sincō also tend to retain their tok position as close servants of prostitutes, both to learn from them in practice, as well as to introduce them to their customers to establish relations that might support their early career as prostitutes.
While adult in nature, sincō are not considered a formal prostitute within Tuthina, and generally cannot be required by customers for service. However, some of the more experienced sincō might participate in prostitute performances as supporting roles, and it is not unheard of that particularly skilled sincō are allowed to perform as main role for the clientèle in events and enjoy similar potential customer base as full-fledged prostitutes.
The majority of sincō belongs to the cinswu sincō (Syodongmun: 振褏𢀝艁) subclass. As prostitutes in training, cinswu sincō sometimes are responsible for entertaining customers when formal prostitutes are unavailable for any reasons. However, traditionally they are almost invariably barred from intimate interactions with customers during their training. Cinswu sincō who have completed their training and recognised by their educators will be promoted to lyuswu sincō (Syodongmun: 畱褏𢀝艁), who will begin serving a selected few customers that have established relations with cinswu sincō as the final practice and examination of their skills before graduating as a recognised prostitute. Cinswu refers to the long, detachable sleeves of traditional Ka garments that unmarried female typically wear, and Lyuswu - literally means "leaving the sleeves" - is based on the tradition of them detaching their sleeves as a gift to their customer after an intimate session: it is believed that once all their sleeves are accepted as a token, a lyuswu sincō will be considered a proper prostitute by the clientèle.
Sincō who has passed a certain age without graduating from it for whatever reasons will be reclassified as cotwu sincō (組𥘖𢀝艁). Literally "group leader sincō", cotwu sincō are those who either failed to, or otherwise choose not to become a prostitute after their training is concluded. Instead, they usually fulfil administrative and educational roles for their brothel. Due to their relatively old age - usually above 30 - cotwu sincō often act as "manager" of inexperienced prostitutes, helping them to select suitable customers from the clientèle, as well as arranging activities prostitute use to entertain their patrons. In some brothels, cotwu sincō is also responsible for arranging and monitoring personnel activities during event, up and including security measures.
The term nyekyen (Syodongmun: 𠨰𧗳) refers to a historical role of individuals who are responsible for seeking out individuals with potentials of becoming a prostitute from the population. Literally meaning "advertising women", it is believed that nyekyen originated as part of the supporting crew of brothels dedicated to advertising prostitutes under their employment, but has since grown to include both the acquisition of potential prostitutes, as well as marketing them to both suitable brothels and customers before and after their employment respectively.
Compared with other roles within the prostitution industry of the Kyriarchate, nyekyen has a relatively short history. While some scholars postulate that the role had its roots in assistants of wandering priestesses to broadcast their arrival, nyekyen itself did not appear in historical records until the late classical period around 2200 BP. The collapse of central authority during the Warring States period marked the apex of nyekyen occupation, as brothels in large cities recruited individuals to seek out future employees in the impoverished rural regions of the country. While the intention was to protect these "valuable individuals" from the constant conflicts between the feuding nobles and warlords, accusations of them intentionally purchasing or kidnapping people for their own gain became increasingly common as the occupation developed during the long period of war.
Further advances in communication technology and the establishment of formal prostitute apprenticeship drastically reduced the need for nyekyen, as a steady supply of prostitutes became available for brothels with minimal input from them and the merchandises they advertise. However, nyekyen remained part of the supporting crew of many smaller brothels up until the early modern period, assuming the additional role of manager of prostitutes, which would later be transferred to cotwu sincō.
Unlike other divisions of labour within brothels, nyekyen is seen in a much more negative light due to the widespread association of it with malpractice ranging from systematic exploitation of the poor and prostitutes they found, as well as rumours of kidnap and rape against their intended targets for their personal gain. Because of that, and the proliferation of affordable communication within the Kyriarchate, nyekyen has been virtually extinct since the end of the Republican Uprising half a century ago, being officially removed from the list of recognised personnel classification of Kyriarchal laws regarding prostitution.
Apart from the rigorous classification system for both brothels and prostitution, the indigenous prostitution system of the Kyriarchate is most famous for its myriad of etiquette required to be observed. Revered by the vast majority of both the people and the government for millennia, the mere attempt to directly interact with most of the prostitutes - especially those of the higher classes - might require both a considerable amount of money and time, as well as a strict demonstration of respect to realise. In many cases, failure to adhere to the collection of gentrified etiquette of Tuthinan prostitution will not only result in being denied service by either the prostitute or the establishment, but will also be a significant faux pas due to regular presence of upper echelons of the Kyriarchate, as well as the extremely high speed of information passing between prostitutes and their clientèle.
With the exception of low class prostitutes working in pōchay and some lower class chay, it is considered inappropriate for customers to contact prostitutes directly, even if they have established relations or otherwise within physical contact range. The belief of directly contacting with prostitutes being a taboo most likely stems from ancient times, when wandering priests - the predecessor of Tuthinan prostitutes - were considered sacred guests by the local authority, and thus directly asking for their service would be considered impolite. However, some scholars believed that the taboo might have a more secular origin that allow its persistence to this day: customers being able to summon prostitutes directly might taint the reputation of prostitutes being professional and neutral among the ruling class of the country.
In order to circumvent such taboo, brothels would instead provide a chat (Syodongmun: 札, Vernacular Tuthinan: punta), a special and often decorated slip dedicated to summoning prostitutes to their clients. The cost of chat varies between brothels: traditionally, lëw tend to charge one lyang (Syodongmun: 㒳, also known as Tuthinan lyang), or roughly 18.5 USD as of 2015. Traditionally, chat is made of high-quality writing paper which is sometimes decorated with embossing and letterpressing, with the name of the establishment and, if applicable, the name of the ongoing event written or printed on it. However, some brothels, especially those of higher classes, are also known to utilise chat made of alternative material such as bamboo and ivory, and thus can be reused after cleaning. In either case, ink brush is used to write on chat for traditional reasons. However, some of the more modernistic brothels also accept the use of foreign writing apparatus such as quill and fountain pen.
While details vary greatly between brothels in different periods, customers are required to write down the name of both themselves and the prostitute they wish to summon. Chat will then be retrieved by dedicated attendants of the establishment and, after some filtering, be passed onto the prostitute requested. The prostitute can choose to refuse the summoning, but if it is accepted, then the prostitute will be introduced to the customer. After a polite greeting, they might engage in brief conversation afterwards but the prostitute usually will return to their own quarter afterwards, requiring more chat to continue the interaction. In some cases, further summoning will result in more conversations between the parties, and in some cases, the prostitute might undergo brief performances - usually a song or a poem - for the customer as a showcase of her talent. After a certain amount of chat used, though, the prostitute will accompany the customer for a longer period of time - a session usually last around two hours. In some cases, usually if the customer and prostitute are already acquainted, the client will be invited to a private room for further and more intimate interactions. However, in most cases such additional service will require more payment, both in the form of chat and gifts to be accepted. The amount of chat required for prostitute to serve the client vary greatly depending on factors including the particular prostitute, the class of the establishment, timing and the current event, as well as personal affection between all parties. Because of that, service of high class prostitutes can be extremely expensive, as a saying in Literary Tuthinan language demonstrates: "a session (usually two hours) is worth a thousand ryang (about 18,500 USD)".
Sindu (Syodongmun: 身𠭧, Vernacular Tuthinan: mi(bo)uke, Ama: mom(ul)paqta) is the process of permanently hiring the service of a prostitute, effectively "buying" them from their current brothel. Literally meaning "[the price to] accept a person", it was originally used to redeem a prostitute who was owned by the brothel for various reasons or was otherwise bound by contract of labour. However, nowadays the term is used to describe the same process for all prostitutes under employment. Due to the permanent nature of sindu, it is often considered synonymous to proposing marriage or concubinage to the prostitute concerned.
As its full name implies, sindu requires an often huge sum of money being paid to both the prostitute in question and the brothel they belong, as well as other personnel working in said brothel in some cases. However, in most cases sindu extends beyond simple monetary transaction, but also other forms of gift and property as well, similar to the idea of dowry, bride token and dower. This is most likely due to the often tight-knitted relations between prostitute and other workers in the brothel - sometimes akin to an extended family - gradually transforming what was a simple payment to redeem a person under contract to an extension of marriage.
Both the prostitute themselves and the brothel in question can reject sindu for any reasons, and with extremely rare exceptions, clients who do not have an established relations and mutual affection with the prostitute will not be accepted due to concerns of the quality of post-marital marriage, as well as possibility of either mistreatment or the lack of financial means to support the prostitute's lifestyle afterwards. In many cases, it might take years, even decades in some cases, for a customer to be promoted from mere acquaintance to someone whose sindu will be accepted by all parties involved.
The cost of sindu varies greatly and is generally difficult to estimate due to the amount of non-monetary resources required, as well as its strong basis on interpersonal relations between the customer and the prostitute, as well as the brothel itself. However, scholarly estimation usually place the price of a generic sindu to be roughly the same price as hiring the prostitute for several years to a decade, or about several thousand times of a single session. As such, sindu for a high-class prostitute can easily reach a staggering amount of money and effort for prospective patron: it is not unheard of that wealth equivalent to millions of USD is paid to the brothel alone in an attempt to acquire the prostitute, both in the past and present. In extreme cases such as the top prostitutes within the realm, sindu can even take the form of granting personal demesne, or stripping its valuables clean to the prostitute in question as an attempt to redeem them. Such incidents are often glorified by love stories in Tuthina, and the nicknames for prostitute of such magnitude - sengkyong and kwokkyong, literally means "to topple a city/country" respectively - invoke the astronomical value many are willing to place on such exalted individuals.
Legal code regarding prostitution does not forbid solicitation, which is occasionally done by lower-tier brothels and prostitutes. In similar vein, many of the lower class jay also feature large windows with traditional wooden grille that allow potential customers to see and interact with prostitute on stand-by. Combined, these are the main ways for low-tier prostitutes who are not under tutelage to gain their initial clientèle and fame.