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The Head of the VOC Visiting a Geisha






This is a room with the Dutch smells that Maruyama geisha's were smelling in the island Dejima.

Smell 1: coffee

‘The VOC chief factor uses to drink this black drink every morning. It smells slightly burnt to me. He says it's made of beans. I thought it might be similar to Japanese barley tea, so I tasted it. It was terribly bitter, but I managed to swallow it. I have heard that an interpreter had to vomit after he'd drunk it for the first time.’

- Maruyama geisha commenting on the smell of coffee -


Smell 2: tobacco

‘For relaxation after eating and intercourse, the VOC chief factor prefers to inhale smoke from a pipe in which some kind of leaves are burned. The smoke fills the whole room. It smells. It smells somewhat sweet, bitter, and rather smoky, as when fallen autumn leaves are being burned.’

- Maruyama geisha commenting on the smell of tobacco -


Smell 3: meat

‘On special occasions, this food is often served at dinner. I asked the VOC chief factor where it comes from and he answered, to my surprise, that it comes from the stable at Dejima. He kindly offered me a piece but I could not accept it because I was afraid to receive bad karma by eating it. By the heart of Buddha, we are not allowed to eat four- legged animals.’

- Maruyama geisha commenting on the smell of meat -