Donors of the Floating World

The Dystopian Livelihoods of Ishiguro's Clones and Yoshiwara Courtesans

  • Marisa Sloan


The text Never Let Me Go envisions dystopianism through the eyes of a group that is simultaneously
subjugated and compensated by class structures. Due to the synchronous glorifcation and
euphemization of their oppression, the fate of these characters ties historical threads to the
livelihoods of Yoshiwara courtesans in Edo Japan. These parallels are drawn from historical
and sociological lenses, inspired by scholars Cecilia Segawa Seigle and Kelly Rich on courtesan
life and environmental infuence.This dichotomy between perception and reality is born from the
subjective nature of what it means to be educated and cultured. The relativity of privilege is then
is weaponized by those in power, who ensure that both marginalized groups internalize their class
and grow complicit in their own exploitation. In light of these parallels, the fuidity between utopian
and dystopian livelihoods manifests, and therein seeps beyond the literary realm.

How to Cite
Sloan, M. (2019). Donors of the Floating World. Digital Literature Review, 6, 130-146. Retrieved from