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File:Tsukioka Settei - Buddhist monk having anal intercourse with boy. Illustration from Onna Teikin Gejo Bunko, circa 1768.png
Buddhist monk having anal intercourse with boy. Illustration by Tsukioka Settei from Womanly Virtue and a Library on the Private Parts (女貞訓下所文庫 Onna Teikin Gejo Bunko, circa 1768).

In premodern Japan, a chigo (稚児) was a boy novice of about seven to fourteen years of age in training at a Buddhist monastery.

This word can have a second meaning derived from the first: it denotes a young boy loved by a monk in the context of a relationship that was both initiatory, emotional and very often sexual.


The word chigo稚児(approximate pronunciation: /tʃi.go/) consists of two characters:

  • chi = child
  • ko = child, boy


A particular genre is chigo monogatari, which tells a love story between a monk and a novice. For example in Aki no yo nagamonogatari 秋夜長物語 (Long Story for an Autumn Night), the anonymous author recounts the linking Keikai and young Umewaka.


A popular saying clearly expressed the priority given by the monks to their young companions:

Ichi chigo nor Sanno.

First the chigo then the god of the mountain. [[[1]]]

  • Tôzô Suzuki, Koji Kitowaza Jiten, Tokyodo Shuppan, 1956, p. 59 (trans. BoyWiki)

See as well

Related articles

Notes and references

  1. Japanese transcript and English translation by Margaret H. Childs in " Chigo Monogatari, love stories or Buddhist sermons? "p. 1. [[Downloadable article)]]