Kielletyt kuvat - vanhaa eroottista taidetta Japanista

Puupiirrokset, osa 1

Tekstit on kirjoittanut professori Monta Hayakawa, käännös Transform Corporation: Tyler Shaw ja Tomoko Sakomura.



8 Isoda Koryûsai, "Glories of the Twelve Months (Furyû jûni-ki no eiga)"
Woodblock, set of 12, chûban
20,0 x 28,0 cm

This shunga series takes the twelve months of the year as its theme, with each image reflecting the events and customs of a particular month. Outside the frame of the image appears the name of the month and a hokku (a seventeen-syllable poem with lines of five, seven and five syllables, later called haiku) based on the month, while within the image itself appears the dialogue between the characters. Because Japan at that time followed a lunar calendar, each month occurred slightly later in the season than it would in the present calendar.

[fig. 1] First Month
"The first night of the New Year
Together we dream the same dream
Visions of marriage in the spring"
(The year's fortune was forecast for good or ill by hatsu-yume, the first dream of the New Year.)

Setting: The bedroom of a commoner daughter. Characters: Two young lovers. Situation: On the first night of the New Year, while playing ban sugoroku, the Japanese equivalent of backgammon, the two young lovers doze off in each other's arms. A balloon in the upper part of the picture frame shows the contents of their dream: a hawk soars in front of Mt. Fuji (the tallest and most beautiful mountain in Japan, revered since ancient times), while at its base the two lovers, dressed in traveling clothes, walk hand in hand through a field of eggplants. A contemporary belief, passed down until today, holds that the most auspicious dreams were of "first Mt. Fuji, second the hawk, third the eggplant," all of which appear in the lovers' dream, auguring well for their future.

[fig. 2] Second Month
"The first day of the horse --
My first experience
With the moxa"
(The first day of the horse (hatsu-uma) in the second month of the year was a festival day for Inari shrines (shrines to Inari, the guardian spirit of the rice harvest) all around Japan. Moxa, a flammable substance derived from Japanese and Chinese wormwood plants, is used in moxibustion, a treatment where a cone of moxa is ignited on the skin to cause counterirritation; if this was done on the second day of the second month it was said to be good for your health.)

Setting: A classroom in a terakoya (an Edo-period private elementary school attended by common people). Characters: A girl and boy practicing calligraphy. Situation: It seems at first like the boy might be helping the girl practice her calligraphy. However, his comment, "Isn’t it nice and warm?" and her reply, "It hurts, but I can endure," make it clear that while he grinds the ink stick with his right hand he is engaging in another activity hidden by her back. Outside, snow still remains from winter, but the new buds on the willow tree outside herald the arrival of spring -- symbolizing the sexual blossoming of the still childish-looking boy and girl. One of their classmates appears to be watching fascinatedly through a rent in the shôji (sliding screen door). At the time, hatsu-uma was the beginning of the new semester in the terakoya.

[fig. 3] Third Month
"Scarlet rug --
This must be the climax
Making great waves"
(Scarlet rugs were used at banquets and ceremonies.)

Setting: A hana-mi banquet (an old custom of eating and drinking while viewing the cherry blossoms which continues to be the main spring event for Japanese even today). Characters: A man and woman making love at a hana-mi banquet, and a young lady passing by. Situation: The man and woman, who had set up a curtain and were viewing the flowers, got carried away, pulled the rug over themselves to make love and have spilled out beyond the curtain in their
excitement. The woman is coming to her senses, saying, "Finish quickly," but the man, wearing a fox mask, continues in his fervor. Looking at the fox mask, the young lady passing by says, "How frightening!! Stop, I beg you!" but she is certainly feigning ignorance as a joke.

[fig. 4] Fourth Month
What a wonderful name --
The fragrant white skin of early summer"
(The u-no-hana, known in English as the deutzia, is a small, white flower that blooms in conical groups.)

Setting: A second floor practice room at a training facility for ongyoku (music sung to the accompaniment of the koto or the shamisen). Characters: A female instructor and one of her male pupils. Situation: As the amorous pupil practiced under his teacher's instruction, a nice chemistry developed and he has managed to seduce her. From the box the teacher is using as a pillow, a practice book of songs and spare strings for shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese mandolin) tumble out. Outside the window, u-no-hana are blooming, and in the sky a cuckoo, an early summer bird, flies away calling keenly. These elements resonate with the teacher's white skin, exposed by the hem of her robe, and her cries of ecstasy.

[fig. 5] Fifth Month
"The iris bath’s
Wet edge --
Soon the rains will come"
(The iris bath contains iris (sweet-flag) roots and leaves, and is taken on the fifth day of the fifth month to rid oneself of jaki, or negativity of spirit that leads to sickness. In Japan, this marks the beginning of the rainy season, and the season for planting rice.)

Setting: The bathroom of a commoner house. Characters: The husband and wife of the house. Situation: The woman says, "What are you doing? Stop being foolish," while the husband replies, "You're just talking rubbish, calling it foolish! Oh, that's it, that's it," so they appear to be a middle-aged couple with good rapport. Seeing his wife undressed for the bath, the husband has become aroused in spite of himself. The wife initially gives him a gentle refusal, but soon they'll certainly be enjoying their “wet” intimacy.

[fig. 6] Sixth Month
"In one net
Let’s bring up
Some jellyfish"

Setting: The bedroom of a commoner house. Characters: The husband and wife of the house. Situation: As the mosquito net has been opened and morning glories are blossoming in the garden, it appears that this couple has just woken up early on a summer morning. Judging from the husband's position behind his wife and their comments, she saying, "Higher, higher!" and he replying, "This is a tight rooster,” they must be engaged in the "rooster" position, or anal sex. (The mosquito net is a visual pun for the "one net" in the hokku, and the woman's round buttocks for the "jellyfish".)

[fig. 7] Seventh Month
"The life-hair of the brush
Will not be put to waste
By the Cowherd Star"
(The “life-hair” (inochige) is the long strand in the center of a brush, its most important portion when writing calligraphy. Tanabata is the night of the seventh day of the seventh month, the only night of the year when Altair (Kengyû, “Cowherd”) and Vega (Shokujo, “Weaver”), stars that represent two lovers in Chinese and Japanese legend that are usually separated by the Milky Way, meet. The custom was to write waka (a classical thirty-one syllable poem) on strips of paper in five different colors, praying for such things as improvement in calligraphy or embroidery, and hang them from bamboo branches in the front garden.)

Setting: The inner parlor of a commoner house. Characters: The husband and wife of the house and two young boys. Situation: The parents and children are writing waka on the strips of paper. The waka would usually contain prayers for advancement by the children in skills that would help them in the future. However, the mother has stopped writing, saying, "Oh, what should the lower half (of the poem) be like? I can't think of anything," to which the husband replies from behind her, teasingly, "The lower part is warm and pleasant." The reference to inochige in the hokku is a metaphor for the phallus. The comment by the child, "I’ll look at Mother’s to compose mine," would be taken as a subtly ironic joke by the viewers of the print and adds to the humor of this piece.

[fig. 8] Eighth Month
"The young falcon
Faster than an eye blinks
Takes a pretty hare"
(Passager hawks, young hawks not yet a year old, were captured freshly at the beginning of fall to be used in falconry, a method of hunting in which a trained falcon is set loose to capture the prey.)

Setting: A field in the suburbs with autumn flowers blooming. Characters: A young falconer and a farm girl. Situation: The young man exclaims "Got it, got it!" while the young woman pushes on his face with one hand and says "Please stop, please stop!" which appears to suggest that the young falconer, instead of taking a hare, has found and forced himself upon a cute young farm girl. The "young falcon" in the hokku is wittily echoed by the young falconer, and the "hare" by the cute young farm girl. Behind them, through a gap in the clouds, the face of the harvest moon (the full moon in mid-autumn, or the eighth month) appears. In Japan, it has been imagined since ancient times that a hare lived on the moon, and it was a tradition to make offerings of autumn flowers, such as pampas grass and bush clover, and round dumplings at the time of the harvest moon.

[fig. 9] Ninth Month
"In a short time
Grown longer than a foot
(Momiji-buna, or crucian carp, is a delicious crimson-finned fish caught between fall and winter.)

Setting: The inner parlor of a commoner house. Characters: The husband and wife of the house, as well as a young servant. Situation: During the husband and wife’s nap, the young servant sneaks in to make love to the wife. The wife is worried that the young man's heavy breathing will wake up her husband, but he is fast asleep, snoring loudly. The young servant has without a doubt been the wife's favorite since he was a boy (just a little carp). The joy and surprise of the wife that he has grown in such a short time to the point where she can have a taste is a very shunga-esque device. In the garden, chrysanthemums, the flower of the ninth month, bloom profusely.

[fig. 10] Tenth Month
"Given from the hand
Of the master
A fuyu-botan"
(Fuyu-botan is a botan, or peony, that blooms in winter. It is also another name for the kotatsu. The first day of the Boar in the tenth month was the day where each household set up their hibachi (charcoal brazier) and kotatsu; commoner households would celebrate with botamochi (“peony rice cakes,” round bean-paste-covered rice cakes), while samurai houses would use kôhaku no mochi (red and white rice cakes)).

Place: The inner parlor of a samurai household. Characters: The master of the house and a young maid. Situation: From the red and white rice cakes scattered about and the servant’s words, "Oh, please let me go! The lady could come in!" and the master's reply, "Don't worry. It'll be fine," it appears that the master has seduced the young maid into coming alone into the room by promising to give her the rice cakes, but instead is giving her something quite unexpected.

[fig. 11] Eleventh Month
"'Shedding the sash'
Doesn't become you --
(Obitoki ("shedding the sash") was a custom where young girls, upon their seventh birthday, cast off their childhood obi (the sash tied around a kimono) for an adult one and visited the local shrine. In Edo, the girl would generally ride to the shrine on either her father's shoulders or those of the local head craftsman. Nukume-dori were little birds tenderly raised by their parents, who would cover them with their wings on winter nights to protect them and keep them warm.)
Setting: The back gate of the lover's house. Characters: The father of the young daughter who has reached obitoki and his lover. Situation: After bringing his daughter to the shrine for her obitoki ceremony, the father has stealthily crept to the back gate (which has a well at the entrance) to show the girl's formal outfit to his lover, perhaps the girl's real mother. This is suggested by the conversation, wherein the man says, "Stand a bit higher so she can see you," and the woman gushes, "Oh, what a cute obebe (baby talk for kimono)!" as she caresses the girl's shoulders and gazes longingly at her. In addition, a celebratory gift is placed modestly at the back gate. In the Edo period, if a child was born to lovers, it was generally preferred to bring it up within a real household, and thus this kind of scene was not uncommon at the time.

[fig. 12] Twelfth Month
"Kansei --
Perfectly in tune
Two young lovers"
(Kansei is a technique for vocal training that involves singing loudly in the cold.)

Setting: A second-floor room of a commoner house at night. Characters: Two young lovers. Situation: The girl says, "Your voice changed recently, didn't it?" to which the boy replies, "That's a harsh question!" It appears that while the young lady was playing on the shamisen and the young man was singing along, the girl suddenly began to question him -- really meaning "Your heart changed recently, didn't it" -- and the young man, in order to allay her suspicions, has begun to make love to her. Even in young love, jealousy sometimes rears its head.

9 Katsukawa Shunshô, "Funny Cuckoo (Haikai yobukodori)" Woodblock, from a series of 12 (10 mounted in an album), aiban
24,8 x 39,4 cm

This series of twelve prints (two are missing in this exhibition) is very like a comprehensive compilation of Shunshô’s shunga works. As he indicates the setting with a minimum of props and documents the playful interaction between the two characters, Shunshô brings concreteness to each scene.

[fig. 1] Setting: A daughter's room in a commoner house. Characters: The daughter and a young man of her acquaintance. Situation: Just as the young lady was writing a love letter, the young man suddenly opened the sliding door, causing her to hurriedly hide the half-finished missive between her legs. She either has yet to reach marriageable age, or she does not want the young man to know to whom she is writing.

[fig. 2] Setting: Behind a wooden cistern (filled with water used for firefighting) on a streetcorner in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Characters: A oiran (courtesan) and her mabu (secret lover). Situation: In early morning, the oiran and her mabu find a private place outside for a rendezvous.
Dialogue: Mabu: "I came to the house this past evening, and heard that the customer would be leaving early, so I've been waiting outside since two o'clock this morning."
Oiran: "Last night's guest did go home early. I just saw him off at the Ômon (the gate to the Yoshiwara licensed quarters). It will be light soon, so hurry -- I hear someone's voice." 

Mabu: "When the kandô (parents disowning a delinquent child) is lifted, I'll be able to visit you properly at your establishment and have great fun."
Oiran: "Seeing you going through such hardship because of me makes me love you even more. Please arrange it so you can return home soon."
Mabu: "The five ryô (about five hundred thousand yen or 4,200 euros today) you sent recently really helped. My money will be freed up once I return home, so would you lend me another five or six ryô within a few days?"

[fig. 3] Setting: A room in a commoner house. Characters: Two young lovers. Situation: Their first meeting in a long time. The disorder of the woman's hair -- her decorative hairpins have fallen down by their heads -- and the many pieces of used tissue paper scattered about indicate the passion of their ecstasies.
Dialogue: Woman (breathing heavily): "Oh, I'm overcome. I'm climaxing again."
Man (about to lose consciousness): "I've come so many times I feel I'll faint."

[fig. 4] Setting: The bedroom of a married commoner couple. Characters: A middle-aged husband and wife. Situation: They are enjoying themselves to their hearts' content for the first time in some time.
Dialogue: Husband: "It feels particularly good since it's been a while. Tonight I'm going to draw out every last drop from you."
Wife: "It feels so wonderful, like I'm going to become pregnant. I've already climaxed five times. Let's take a little break. Did you rub an aphrodisiac on yourself, perhaps? Aah, that's feeling good again."

[fig. 5] Setting: The back garden of a commoner house. Characters: The husband and wife of the house. Situation: Spying his wife's figure from behind as she does the laundry, the husband becomes amorous and proceeds to make love to her outside in broad daylight. In Japan, stories of men becoming aroused seeing women doing the wash have been told since olden times.
Dialogue: Wife: "Don't be foolish...out here of all places! Someone will come."
Husband: "Once we're like this, if man or devil comes there's nothing for it. I fall in love with you all over again when I see you doing laundry."
Wife: "Why do you say such silly things? Ohh, go harder. Yes, yes."
Husband: "Aah, I'm climaxing too."
Shunshô's inclusion of a little dog barking rhythmically as he peers at the two joined together is quite humorous.

[fig. 6] Setting: A room in a deai-chaya. Characters: Two young lovers. Situation: The pair, heretofore unable to meet as they wished, finally manage a rendezvous.
Dialogue: Man: "Tonight, we're finally able to meet. Do you love me?"
Woman: "If I didn't love you I wouldn't do this. Yesterday I kept my promise and came to this place only to wait in vain for you, so tonight be sure to make me fulfilled."
The Jurôjin (deity of long life) painted on the folding screen watches the pair laughing; the painter has him say, "Tonight they've come again to make love. Work hard, you two -- then you’ll live long like me." This is another illustration of the humor (warai) in shunga.

[fig. 7] Setting: A bedroom in a commoner house. Characters: A middle-aged husband and wife. Situation: Wanting to cut through the boredom, the couple has indulged in some aphrodisiacs and is making love deeply and passionately.
Dialogue: Husband: "The effect of the Chômeigan (an aphrodisiac thought to improve strength and endurance) is quite powerful, isn’t it. Tonight we have to go until we use up all your fluid."
Wife: "Oh, I'm climaxing so often I feel as if I'll faint. Oh, yes, here I go again. I can't remember ever feeling like this."

[fig. 8] Setting: A deserted back street. Characters: An oku-jochû and a male attendant. Situation: The servant, attending the still naive oku-jochû as she ventures outside the estate, deliberately takes a detour, luring her into a sparsely populated part of town, and forces himself upon her.
Dialogue: Servant: "After attending you all day, watching you always from behind, I simply had to have my "little servant" say hello to you from the front. So, I brought you this back way and waited for it to get dark. If your manjû ("dumpling"; slang for vagina) and my "golden mara" (slang for a member of strength and endurance) don't get together five or six times I'll be missing the chance of a lifetime. These opportunities are very rare."
Oku-jochû: "Stop forcing yourself on me. Let me go."
Servant: "In a deserted place like this, no matter how much you shout it'll do no good. Just give it up."
Oku-jochû: "How can a huge thing like yours ever make it in? It's frightening. We'll be late getting back to the estate."
This representation, with only the genital areas and faces lit up by a lantern in the dark of night, is quite novel. Also of note is the convention in shunga of depicting men who forced women into having sex as ugly and/or hairy and/or uncircumcised.

[fig. 9] Setting: A living room in a woman's house. Characters: The woman of the house and her lover. Situation: As the woman, who lives alone, worked on her needlework, her lover comes to visit, and they begin to make love.
Dialogue: Woman: "Oh, you naughty man."
Man: " What? This isn’t naughty. Don’t pretend to be a prude."
Woman: " Well, all right."
Man: "It's so warm inside, I can't hold on any longer."
Woman: "Such silly things you say!"

[fig. 10] Setting: A living room in a commoner house. Characters: An older man and a young woman. Situation: As they sit together under the kotatsu, the aroused older man pulls the futon over the two of them and begins to make love to the young woman.
Dialogue: Girl: "Stop forcing me! I can hardly breathe! There -- someone's going to come."
Man: "You're not a child anymore, so stop making a fuss. Once we're like this, there's no stopping. Give me a taste of what's been so nicely warmed up by the kotatsu."
A cat that was sleeping in the kotatsu appears in the left corner, saying “How noisy--disturbing my comfortable sleep.” Personification of animals was also a device of shunga.

[Not Exhibited] Setting: A room in a commoner house. Characters: An innocent girl and an amorous man. Situation: The young man shows the girl a book of shunga, awakening her desires, and attempts to initiate her into the erotic arts.
Dialogue: Girl: "That's a very risqué book you lent me. Somehow I've started feeling strange."
Young man: "Since I lent you such a valuable book, I have to collect something in return. It'll hurt a bit the first time, but try and bear it. My equipment is a rare sort."
Girl: "It would be bad if someone came by, so hurry up. Ooh, I'm so nervous. My heart is beating so heavily!"
Young man: "It's good that I'll be your first. If you reached sixteen without having known a man, you would go your whole life without it. You owe it to me."
Girl: "I feel like I've fallen for you. It might hurt, but I’ll bear it."

[Not Exhibited] Setting: A back room in a commoner house. Characters: A widow and a man attempting to seduce her. Situation: The widow, although she took a vow of chastity when her husband died, is unable to resist the advances of the man who is so taken with her beauty.
Dialogue: Man: "It is such a waste for a woman as beautiful as yourself to be left a widow. And it feels exceptionally good making love to you. No wonder the master died of overexerting himself. From now on I'll sneak in every night and fulfill you. Oh, what a miraculous "shellfish" this is."
Widow: "I thought I could endure until the first anniversary of my husband’s death, but I had such dreams every night, I couldn't bear it any longer. It's been such a long time, and being made love to by you like this I feel close to unconsciousness. Oh, I'm going to climax again!" 

Lasipalatsin Mediakeskus Oy ©2001 8.9.2004