As a child Masuda lived as a nurse-maid in a large farming household near Shiojiri, where she got little to eat, no education, poor sleeping quarters, and was frequently punished. When Masuda was 12, her mother needed money to pay for her husband’s medical treatment. Her uncle retrieved her from the landowners and sold her to an okiya (geisha house) called Takenoya in Suwa. Soon after Masuda's arrival, one of the other geisha in the okiya, Takemi, died of peritonitis caused by gonorrhea, and her refusal to seek medical treatment in the hopes of hastening her death greatly influenced Masuda's perception of living as hell and dying as paradise.

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