Kielletyt kuvat - vanhaa eroottista taidetta Japanista

Puupiirrokset, osa 2

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


10 Torii Kiyonaga, "Twelve Arts of Love (Shikidou jûniban)" Woodblock, set of 12, ôban
ca. 1784
25.7 x 38.7 cm

This shunga series, like many others, depicts a variety of different characters and settings and uses short dialogues to indicate the relationship between the figures and the situation, but with absolutely no connecting thread between the scenes. Bringing together disparate things, avoiding consistency and unity -- this was one of the special characteristics of Edo culture.

[fig. 1] Setting: The inner parlor of a commoner house. Characters: A son of the house and his sweetheart. Situation: The young boy has enticed the young girl into the back room, and attempts to seduce her for the first time.
Dialogue: Young boy: "I know it hurts, but bear it for a little while?"
Young girl: "I'm already very happy. Is that someone coming?"
Young boy: "Don't worry, nobody's going to come."
In these depictions of young couples “playing with fire,” it is always the young girl who worries about being discovered, while the young boy flirts with danger as he allays her fears.

[fig. 2] Setting: A room in a Yoshiwara house of pleasure. Characters: A customer and a shinzô (a young prostitute apprenticed to a particular oiran). Situation: The customer, a regular visitor of a particular oiran who is engaged with another customer, seduces the shinzô who has been sent to keep him company while he waits.
Dialogue: Customer: "Oh, I'm coming, I'm coming!"
Shinzô: "Shhh -- it would be awful if the oiran found out, so please be quiet."
It was taboo in Yoshiwara to place a hand on a shinzô, but of course the fun lay in breaking such rules.

[fig. 3] Setting: A room in a deai-chaya. Characters: An oku-jochû permitted a short leave from her employer's estate and a young lover. Situation: Upon her annual yadoiri (a one-day visit to her home), this oku-jochû frantically enjoys a long-awaited encounter with her lover, whom she has arranged to meet before heading home.
Dialogue: Oku-jochû: "I really think I'm losing consciousness. Keep doing it like that forever. I love you so much. I look forward to yadoiri only because I can see you. Ohh, here I go again."
Young man: "I'm coming too. Yes, yes."
It is easy to imagine that when an oku-jochû, usually trapped inside her employer's estate, was able to meet her lover, she would passionately lay bare her sexual desires.

[fig. 4] Setting: A living room in a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation: Seeing his wife doing needlework, the husband becomes aroused in the middle of the day and begins to seduce her.
Dialogue: Wife: "In the middle of the day? How foolish. If someone came by it would be awkward, so stop it."
Husband: "When you're already so wet? I can't hold myself back."
The husband making love to his wife as she tends to housework is quite a common subject in shunga. In a sense, one could say that it captures the sexual attitudes of common people.

[fig. 5] Setting: A bedroom in a commoner house. Characters: An adulterous wife and her playmate. Situation: The married woman has invited a reputedly well-equipped man for a visit.
Dialogue: Wife: "Oh, my, it really is big. Well, let's get started! Come on already!"
Man: "Hold on, hold on, don't be in such a rush. Let's take it slowly and make it last."
At first glance the lady might appear to be a courtesan, but she is simply an adulterous wife -- indicated as such by her blackened teeth (at the time, it was customary for women to blacken their teeth upon marriage) and free manner of speech. The women of Edo's Shitamachi (the merchant and commoner district) approached sex enthusiastically.

[fig. 6] Setting: A room in a ryôri-chaya (restaurant tea-house). Characters: A customer and a geisha. Situation: Having called the geisha to the restaurant tea-house for some musical entertainment, the customer -- perhaps due to the strength of the sake -- makes advances towards her in spite of himself.
Inscription: Geisha: "No, this place doesn't put me in the mood. Come now, control yourself!"
The geisha's comment that "this place" (that is, the ryori-chaya) doesn't put her in the mood, at least on the face of things, reflects the regulation prohibiting geisha who specialized in musical entertainment from entertaining their clients sexually as well. Also implied, however, is that were it a different place, perhaps a deai-chaya, she would consider it.

[fig. 7] Setting: A living room in a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation: Just out of the bath, the husband becomes aroused by the sight of his wife sitting before the mirror.
Dialogue: Husband: "They say that sex just after a bath is good, and it's true. Oh, that's tight, that's tight."
Wife: "Shh, quietly."
The simple robes on the pair, called yukata, are commonly worn just after the bath. In Japan, it became customary among city residents to bathe every day during the Edo period; most of the common folk would go to public bathhouses (sentô), while the more well-off chônin would have baths in their homes.

[fig. 8] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Characters: A young master and a prostitute. Situation: A diplomatic exchange between the young man, who has come to visit the prostitute despite his worries about his parents finding out, and the prostitute, who tries to detain him for as long as possible.
Dialogue: Young master: "Well, if I don't return home early today it will be an ugly reception for me, so I'll be off."
Prostitute: "You must spend the night!! At least stay until the evening comes."
Young master: "I'll return tomorrow evening."
Prostitute: "Even though I want you right now? I'm not letting you go home."
Young masters’ amusements in the brothels were paid for with their parents' money, and they were always worried about being found out -- their desires full-grown, their actions juvenile.

[fig. 9] Setting: A room in an okabasho (an unlicensed pleasure district, known about but ignored by the authorities) in Shitamachi. Characters: A Shitamachi geisha and a male customer. Situation: A scene of amusements in the unlicensed brothel district.
Dialogue: Customer: "How's that?"
Geisha: "Oh, I feel like I'm fainting. Go faster."
The black haori (short coat) served almost as a uniform for Shitamachi geisha, entertainers whose selling point was their generosity with their favors. Officially, geisha were forbidden from selling their bodies, but that was very much a facade.

[fig. 10] Setting: The bedroom of a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation: A bedroom scene of a happily married husband and wife.
Dialogue: Husband: "Oh, I'm coming, I'm coming. Ohhh, that's really good."
Wife: "This is my third time. Ah, ahh, oohhh."
The wife rests her cheeks in her hands with her eyes closed, indicating not only the relaxed nature of the lovemaking but also the familiarity between husband and wife.

[fig. 11] Setting: A tea-house in an okabasho in Shitamachi. Characters: A Shitamachi prostitute and her client. Situation: A gallivant chônin has brought the prostitute to a tea-house, and they now make love as they drink.

Dialogue: Man: "How does this feel? Good?"
Prostitute: "Ahh, that feels really good. Don’t be a tease, put it in quickly!"
The woman’s hairstyle indicates that she is a Shitamachi prostitute.

[fig. 12] Setting: An inner parlor of a prosperous commoner house. Characters: The wife of the house and a young shop employee. Situation: The mistress has invited the young shop employee in for some hi-asobi (literally, "playing with fire"). Here as well the woman is presented as a bold and daring figure; from her blackened teeth, however, we can tell that she is in fact married.
Dialogue: Mistress: "Go in deeper and stronger. That's it, I'm coming again."
Employee: "Oh, that feels good. I think I'm coming too."
Masters and mistresses seducing their underlings is a common subject in shunga, including many scenes of young men tempted by their mistresses who jump happily and unhesitatingly into their new duties.

11 Katsukawa Shunchô, "Erotic Prints for the Twelve Months (Kôshoku zue jûnikô)"
Woodblock, 11 from a set of 12, ôban
ca. 1788
24.8 x 38.4 cm

This set of twelve prints, like the "Glories of the Twelve Months (Furyû jûni-ki no eiga)" by Isoda Koryûsai, follows the seasonal events and items of each month as its theme (although in this exhibition the tenth print will not be exhibited). The dialogues between the characters are more extensive than in Koryûsai's shunga, allowing the viewer to gain a deeper understanding of each situation.

[fig. 2] First Month: New Year's Greetings
Setting: An inner parlor of a commoner house. Characters: The son of the house and his lady friend. Situation: The young people are wearing their New Year's best and New Year’s decorations are depicted behind a folding screen. While his parents are not looking, the young man makes advances to the young woman who has come to give her New Year’s greetings. Turning away from him with an embarrassed expression on her face, she says, "Please let go -- if your mother comes out we'll be in trouble," but she holds onto the young man's "young man" quite firmly.

[fig. 2] Second Month: Hatsu-uma (the first day of the horse in the second month; the Inari festival day)
Setting: An inner parlor of a commoner house. Characters: A young husband and wife. Situation: The red plum blossoms arranged in the tokonoma (an alcove holding decorations) indicate the second month. With everyone out of the house, the young husband and wife leisurely make love.
Dialogue: Husband: "Now that everyone's gone to visit the Ôji Inari (a shrine where people prayed for a rich harvest and prosperity), I think I'd like to visit your "Ana Inari (Inari in a cave)."
Wife: "Today's the first day of the horse, and yours looks as big as a horse's -- I'm already panting!"

[fig. 3] Third Month: Hana-mi (cherry blossom viewing)
Setting: The second floor of a commoner house. Characters: Husband and wife. Situation: A midday encounter while gazing at the cherry blossoms in full bloom outside. Sake and tidbits of food are prepared near the window for cherry blossom viewing.
Dialogue: Husband: "This looks exactly like a white mortar."
Wife: "It seems we're coming undone -- why don't we switch to the usual position?"
Husband: " We'll do it normally in a little while, I promise."

[fig. 4] Fourth Month: Hototogisu (a small cuckoo, an early summer bird)
Setting: Near the second floor window of a commoner house. Characters: A young husband and wife. Situation: The young and vigorous husband is making love to his wife during the day.
Dialogue: Husband: "If I go half a day without it I feel awful. This is the ninth time today."
Wife: "I feel like I'm going to lose consciousness. Go a little deeper -- here I come again."
Husband: "When we go to bed tonight, let's do it another five or six times."
Outside the window, a cuckoo flies by crying sharply.

[fig. 5] Fifth Month: Tsuyu (the rainy season)
Setting: A bachelor's house. Characters: Two young lovers. Situation: Rain falls outside as the young lovers enjoy some mid-day intimacy.
Dialogue: Woman: "Hold me tighter. There's no one as lovable as you. I wish we could stay like this our whole lives."
Man: "With this rain, no one will come around today. This tsuyu is really considerate."

[fig. 6] Sixth Month: Mushi-boshi (literally, “insect-drying,” a custom of airing out clothes and bedding in the breeze to get rid of insects)
Setting: A room in a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation: Seeing his wife airing out clothes, the husband is unable to restrain himself from approaching her.
Dialogue: Wife: "Hurry and finish quickly -- I don't want anyone to come upon us." 

Husband: "It's so warm today, we have to make our own breeze."

[fig. 7] Seventh Month: Tanabata (an annual festival on the seventh day of the seventh month; in Chinese and Japanese legend, Tanabata saw the annual meeting of two lovers, represented by the stars Altair (Kengyû, "Cowherd") and Vega (Shokujo, "Weaver"))
Setting: A bedroom in a commoner house. Characters: A middle-aged husband and wife. Situation: As a Tanabata decoration hangs in front of the window, the husband and wife make love inside the mosquito netting.
Dialogue: Wife: "It's never felt as good as it does tonight. This is what it must be like in heaven. Oh, I think I'm having another one!"
Husband: "I'm climaxing constantly, too!"

[fig. 8] Eighth Month: Tsuki-mi (a custom of appreciating the moon on the fifteenth evening of the eighth month)
Setting: The inner parlor of a commoner house. Characters: A middle-aged husband and wife. Situation: Having set out the customary sake and snacks, the husband and wife make love in a seated position as they watch the moon. The round window is a visual pun for the full moon; as well, Japanese bush clover (hagi, one of the traditional autumn grasses) flower outside the window.
Dialogue: Husband: "Tonight, it feels particularly good, perhaps because of the moon-viewing."
Wife: "It feels good for me as well tonight. I've climaxed five times."
Husband: "Let's take a break and have a bit of sake."
Wife: "Drinking only sake like that, you'll poison your body."
Husband: "You're more poisonous than any sake."

[fig. 9] Ninth Month: Kikudana (chrysanthemums)
Setting: The back garden of a merchant's house. Characters: A male and a female employee of the shop. Situation: The two employees, having grown fond of each other, steal away from their master's gaze for an assignation in a corner of the back garden. Chrysanthemums, the flower of the ninth month, can be seen planted in the rear flowerbed.
Dialogue: Man: "I’m so glad that you’ve waited. We arranged our meeting well today."
Woman: "Since we don't have to worry about anyone coming back here, please keep doing this forever. I think I'm already climaxing."

[Not Exhibited] Tenth Month

[fig. 11] Eleventh Month: Kao-mise (a kabuki performance introducing the next season's stars)
Setting: A second-floor room at a shibai-chaya (a theater tea house). Characters: A widowed proprietress and a young employee. Situation: The proprietress, having brought her shop employees to see the theater, invites the young employee back to the room between curtains to fulfill her desires.
Dialogue: Woman: "The reason I brought everyone to the theater was because I wanted to do this with you. You're the most lovable thing I've ever seen. And you're bigger and longer than my late husband. Ohhhhhh."
Young man: "Thank you, ma'am. However, could you please be a little quieter? They'll hear us downstairs."
Woman: "It doesn't matter if they hear downstairs. I already told the staff what we'd be doing."
Young man: "It's time for the curtain to rise -- everyone must be waiting."
Woman: "Go deeper, till you break in half! Aaahhh."
Young man: "I'm about to finish too. Oooohh."

[fig. 12] Twelfth Month: Susu-harai (an annual, thorough cleaning of the house)
Setting: An oiran's room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Characters: The oiran and a young master, her customer. Situation: In bed, the oiran and the young man, who has been staying with her for some time, have a romp.
Dialogue: Young master: "If I keep staying over like this, my father will be angry. And since tomorrow is the big housecleaning, I've got to go home."
Oiran: "Stop making jokes and let's make love. It's begun to snow, so you'll have to stay here tomorrow." 

Lasipalatsin Mediakeskus Oy ©2001 8.9.2004