26-Year-Old Landlady Takes over Long-Established, Retro Showa-Style "Yoki-yu"Public Bathhouse Used as Model for Kyoto Animation Film
The elderly landlady of the roughly 90-year-old public bath "Yoki-yu," in Sakaemachi, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, has handed it over to a young public bath manager in Kyoto City. Yukina Fujiuchi, who grew up in the area, is managing the bathhouse as its new landlady, and working hard to make it a source of community invigoration.
Yoki-yu is said to have been founded in 1932. An outstanding characteristic is its entrance with a large "Karahafu," or a gable with an undulating curve, which is 2.2 meters high and 5.8 meters wide. Reportedly, it is the model for the bathhouse in "Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions," an animated film produced by Kyoto Animation.
The new manager is Yusuke Minato, an attendant at "Sauna no Umeyu," a public bathhouse in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto. He uses the name, "Sanjiro Minato" to do business as a public bathhouse activist. He has also managed "Miyako-yu," a public bathhouse at Bamba 3-chome, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, from last fall.
Fujiuchi, the new landlady, spent her preschool days in the Ishiyama district, where Sakaemachi is located. She became acquainted with Minato when she was producing goods inspired by public bathhouses while at Kyoto Seika University, Sakyo Ward. After graduation, she worked for a company in Otsu City, but at the same time, she and Minato helped clean Yoki-yu, which was short of hands.
At the end of last year, Fujiuchi heard from Shizuko Miyamae, the former landlady, that she was thinking of closing the bathhouse due to her poor health. Desiring to "save the public bathhouse in the town where I was born and grew up," Fujiuchi made her mind up and offered to take over the business. Although Miyamae declined, saying, "This business is not profitable. It has no future," Fujiuchi, along with Minato, made persistent efforts to persuade her. She quit her company job and has been at the reception to handle the bathhouse's everyday business since July. She has also been focused on advertising through SNS and other methods.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)