Young Tomeki is a poor orphan girl that is sold to a brothel in the Red Light District. In a world of courtesans and nameless men, she grows from an awkward, petulant child into Kyoha, one of the most prized Oiran in the entire district. But trouble arises when Kyoha falls in love with a handsome young man. Forbidden to love, will Kyoha find a way to be with the man who is constantly lingering within her thoughts?
Chiruhi is a compilation of several stories, but the first one is a lot like Sakuran. If reading one of these didn't quite quench your thirst for somber, bittersweet stories about Edo-era prostitution and forbidden love, check out the other. Sakuran is about a woman at the very top of the echelon- graceful, witty, and expensive, while Chiruhi's prostitute protagonist is living out of a boat and just trying to make it day by day.
Reina, a nineteen-year-old single mother, was raped and impregnated while in high school. She chooses to keep the child and lives with her mother, who works to support both of them. Reina falls in love with Akira, a cosmetic artist, but when she tells him that she was raped, he breaks up with her. To make matters worse her mother is hospitalized due to exhaustion and her daughter falls down a flight of stairs resulting in the loss of her sight. Now that all hope seems lost, will Reina be able to survive or will the reality of the cruel world prove to be too much for her?
Both are about sex trade working women who find love and struggle to keep it along with their sanity. Personally I liked Sakuran more, but they're both good in their own way. If you like one, you'll probably like the other.
In the Tokugawa era, the dreaded redface pox is devastating the country's population of young men, and after a few generations, the gender ratio has fallen to roughly one male for every four females. Since sons rarely survive to adulthood, family trades are now passed from mother to daughter, and women hold even important governmental positions. In order to prevent the rest of the world from discovering this state of affairs, Japan institutes a strict isolationist policy, and female officials adopt masculine names so that even the official records don't reveal what's happening. Though the outside word is suffering from a shortage of marriageable men, the inner chambers of Edo castle are a lavish place, filled with hundreds of men who serve both as an emergency standing army, and also as the personal harem for the new shogun - a woman named Yoshimune who is determined to fix the rampant inequality and wastefulness of her country.
Another historical josei (er, technically neither of these are josei, but both will appeal more to that demographic than their actual ones) manga about kickass, strong minded women. If you liked one and are looking for something else with beautiful costumes, well-realized characters, emotional maturity, and a similar setting, definitely check out the other.