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


12 Katsukawa Shunchô, "Fashionable Methods of Seduction (Imayô irokumi no ito)"
Woodblock, set of 12, benigirai-e
ca. 1786
23.0 x 33.0 cm

From 1787 to 1793, in order to strengthen its hold on power, the bakufu (samurai government) enacted far-reaching reforms such as a 1790 edict against luxury items that prohibited the publication of extravagantly colored nishiki-e and illustrated erotic novels. The works that were printed in accordance with this, using neither crimson nor any deep shades of color, were called benigirai. Benigirai prints, comparatively lacking in flamboyance, produced a calmer atmosphere.
This series is an example of how shunga adapted to this controlled, regulated atmosphere. From its existence we can infer that while shunga was ostensibly prohibited, in fact the publication of shunga and erotic literature neither stopped or declined. In comparison to preceding shunga works, this series features characters that occupy more pictorial space, with greater attention paid to the representation of their facial expressions and garments.

[fig. 1] Setting: A room in a deai-chaya. Characters: An older married woman and her lover. Situation: The older woman, married and with children, and her boastful lover have a secret encounter in the deai-chaya. At the time, in addition to blackening their teeth when they were married, women would shave their eyebrows when they bore children.
Dialogue: Older woman: "It feels so good my breath is heaving. Do it as hard as you can. Yes, yes, I'm climaxing -- oooh, and again! Aaaah. . . one, one, two, two, three, three, four, four . . ."
Man: "Since we got started, let’s stay like this till night comes. No matter how many times we do it, I never weaken."
The humor (warai) of this image lies in the ecstasies of the woman's dialogue (counting out the numbers as her pleasure becomes ever greater) and the man's spurious boasting.

[fig. 2] Setting: A room in a brothel in an okabasho. Characters: A male customer and a prostitute. Situation: A preliminary skirmish between the customer -- renowned for being well-equipped -- and the prostitute, applying to be his companion.
Dialogue: Man: "So, you've come out knowing my size? Well, you'll be really happy when you're filled with it."
Woman: "Oh, it really is exceptionally large. I suppose no matter where you go, there's not a woman to fit it. Make me ready, and try me slowly. I'll try to handle it as best I can. Still, it's frightening to look at! I haven't seen its equal since I started this job."

[fig. 3] Setting: A room in a mistress's house. Characters: The mistress and her patron. Situation: The patron, on his first visit in a long time, makes love to his mistress.
Dialogue: Patron: "While I was away for so long, it seems like it's gotten wider, as if you were making love with someone else."
Mistress: "Make love to someone other than you? Well, if you're going to say such things perhaps you should come here every day. Oh, it feels like my body's melting. Aah, if you're going to starve me like that, you might as well not even keep me as your mistress. It's been such a long time, I expect a lot from you today."

[fig. 4] Scene: A room in a brothel near Shinagawa (a district on Edo Bay, presently one of Tokyo’s twenty-three wards). Characters: A prostitute and a client. Situation: On the evening of nijûroku-ya machi (a custom of waiting for the moonrise and worshipping the moon on the twenty-sixth evening of the seventh month), a scene of amusements in a brothel near Shinagawa. Originally, nijûroku-ya machi had a Buddhist meaning, involving contemplating the image of Buddha in the moonlight, but by the late Edo period it became an enjoyable annual event of drinking and singing into the night, thriving particularly in the coastal areas of Shinagawa and Takanawa (a district in present-day Minato Ward that overlooked Edo Bay).
Dialogue: Customer: "I'll give you your last frolic on nijûroku-ya. Tonight it feels fabulous."
Prostitute: "It's ridiculous -- you must have put some sort of medicine on yourself. Because it really does feel wonderful tonight. Yes, do it harder. Ah! Ah! Ooooh!"
Customer: "Yes! I'm coming too!"

[fig. 5] Setting: A bedroom in a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation: A frankly depicted scene of a commoner husband and wife in their bedroom.
Dialogue: Husband: "Yes, yes, that feels great, I’m about to climax again. Tonight it's really superb for some reason."
Wife: "It's never been like this for me before. Yes, all the way in. Oh, I'm climaxing. I can't catch my breath, and I'm going dizzy. Are you trying to kill me!? Aah, I'm losing consciousness."
Husband: "Going since early evening, I'm exhausted. Let's take a break and give the equipment a rest."

[fig. 6] Setting: A room in a Yoshiwara house of pleasure. Characters: A male customer and a shinzô. Situation: In Yoshiwara, when more than one regular (najimi) client paid a visit to the oiran at once, her shinzô would pass the time with one while she entertained the other. However, it was forbidden for a client to place a hand on the young shinzô. In this print, we see a male client about to break this rule.
Dialogue: Shinzô: "Oh! If the oiran knew, we would be in great trouble, so please stop."
Customer: "Whether the oiran or anyone else might come, once we've gone this far we can't stop."
Shinzô: "You've already put it in? How foolish!"
Customer: "I've liked you more than the oiran for a long time now. And you've a remarkable flavor. Ooh, I’m about to climax. "
Shinzô: "It's starting to feel really good for me, too."

[fig. 7]: Setting: A room in a chaya. Characters: A geisha and a najimi patron. Situation: The customer has called in his usual geisha, and during their musical amusements tries to seduce her by casting false accusations at her. Geisha, because of regulations prohibiting the sexual trade outside of the Yoshiwara licensed quarters, were restricted to selling their musical abilities and forbidden, on the face of things, from having sex with clients.
Dialogue: Geisha: "Please let me go, I'll do anything for you. This house is inconvenient -- why don't we go out somewhere?"
Man: "I won't let you go no matter how inconvenient it is for you. I hear you're selling yourself to men all over the city. So don’t be such a prude."
Geisha: "What do you mean, other men? I hear you have another woman. Don't you have true feelings for me? Are you just playing around?"

[fig. 8] Setting: A room in a brothel. Characters: A prostitute and her customer, a young master. Situation: The young master has lied in order to steal away from the house to come play, and the prostitute is trying to entice him to linger.
Dialogue: Young master: "I lied to my father, saying that I was going to visit the temple, so I can't spend the night. If I'm found out it'll be much tougher to get away next time, so tonight I'll return home."
Prostitute: "I already made up an excuse to send a samurai customer home so you could spend the night, so you have to stay. Yes, make love to me. Oh, I dearly love you."

Mabu: "No matter how many times you say such things, if you find a man you particularly like, you'll soon succumb to him. Ever since your bobo became so fine, the furisode (long-sleeved kimono worn by unmarried women and young prostitutes) and shimada-mage (style of top-knot) don't become you."

[fig. 5] Setting: A back parlor in a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation: The husband, upon seeing his wife fixing her hair after an encounter, becomes aroused yet again.
Dialogue: Wife: "You're the busiest man in the world! Now, wait until I've fixed my hair -- we'll do it again once I've tied it up."
Husband: "Not taking advantage of an erection like this is such a waste. It's my penis, but it doesn't take orders from me."

[fig. 6] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Characters: An oiran and her young mabu. Situation: The oiran is deeply in love with her young mabu.
Dialogue: Mabu: "Even if it takes ten thousand ryô (about one billion yen or 8.5 million euros today), I wanted to make love with you slowly. There's a rumor that you cry in bed, and with the taste of this bobo that would be wonderful."
Oiran: "Thrust harder -- I'll show you the tears. A penis with vigor, like yours, feels so much better than a rich connoisseur’s. If I could, I'd spend a thousand years wrapped up with you. People say that this world never turns out the way you want, which is so irritating to me."

[fig. 7] Setting: A room in a commoner house. Characters: A married woman and a married man. Situation: The adulterous pair has a secret rendezvous. The woman's comments about her husband are particularly entertaining.
Dialogue: Woman: "Kyû-san, your wife is such a lucky one. Always eating such a wonderful thing, and speaking as she pleases; I wonder what good star she was born under -- I'm so envious. Ohh, yes, yes. My husband, as you know, is ugly and mean, and what's more his crucial equipment is skinny and short! Oh, I hate him, I hate him."
Man: "There, there, I'll soon make you my wife instead of her, so make sure you keep your bobo clean. Ah, I'm coming too!"

[fig. 8] Setting: A room in a prosperous mercantile house. Characters: Two employees of the shop. Situation: The two employees steal away and have a brief assignation. From the man's dialogue, it is abundantly clear how important the visual element of lovemaking is for him.
Dialogue: Man: "Rather than starting so quickly, it's nice to just enjoy looking at you like this. If one really looks at it, your bobo is quite stylish. It swells out slightly, and the part where the hair grows thickly gives me goose bumps. Your age is when the bobo is the most tasty."
Woman: "Stop saying such senseless things and let's get started. We'll be interrupted again."

[fig. 9] Setting: A room in a commoner house. Characters: A married man and an unmarried woman who used to be in love with him. Situation: The woman receives a man who she could not marry but still cares for, and who continues to play around in spite of being married -- encounters between men and women can be unfair at times. The contrast between the pompous self-certitude of the man's comments and the woman's admirable self-restraint is deeply interesting.
Dialogue: Man: "Generally, a hairless bobo is not worthwhile to look at. For sex, a bobo should be small. A larger bobo is better to the touch. So, a bobo for looking should be hairy, a bobo for doing should be small, and a bobo for touching should be big -- there's a
song that says that. So, I'll warm you up well, and then we'll go through the shijûhatte (forty-eight sexual techniques) until my mara bone can't take any more."
Woman: "Please, stop your joking and let's get on with it. It's to my disadvantage if you get me too excited. When your wife is so charming, I wonder why you would do this sort of thing with an unrefined woman like me. Fate is mysterious. Because of you I lost my chance to marry, so do as you please."

[fig. 10] Setting: A room in a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation: The husband and wife, well familiar with each other, make love.
Dialogue: Husband: "How about if I make it slip like so, tease you a bit, make it really wet, and have a little fun."
Wife: "Oh!, that's not the right spot. Put it in correctly. Don't joke around like that."

[fig. 11] Setting: A room in a commoner house. Characters: A young woman and her older lover. Situation: Having just discovered the joy of making love, they begin to worry about the future.
Dialogue: Young woman: "I finally realized what it's like to "orgasm," so I’m able to overcome my embarrassment a little more. Are you really going to make me your wife? Somehow it seems like a lie."
Man: "You had no idea it would feel this good; because
it hurt, the first night you were saying such cursed things like “no” and “stop.” I love you enough that I’d live inside you if I could, but even if my mouth said, "I love you, I love you," I’d never be able to express my true feelings. How can I make it good? As we are right now, all I can think of is how to make my mara last." 

[fig. 12] Setting: A bedroom in a commoner house. Characters: A husband and wife. Situation. On a summer night, the husband and wife make love uninhibitedly to their great pleasure.
Dialogue: Husband: "In all of Japan, there's no woman as beautiful as you, who doesn't get thin or fat, who has a good bobo and knows how to use it, or who is as highly-sexed and receives as much pleasure in bed as you. Your bobo is of the finest caliber, clingy (tako-bobo, literally “octopus vagina”) and even-tempered (umani-bobo, literally “sweet-soy casserole vagina”) -- it's absolutely superb. Oh, that's so good, so good. After three times from the side, and then honde (normal position), and then once cha-usu (literally, “tea-grinder,” with the woman on top), let's take a little break."
Wife: "Don't stop, keep going until I'm finished. Yes, yes, like that. I'm flowing like a burst dam. Make love to me harder, and go in all the way. Aaaah..."
This culmination of marital harmony offered in the last panel is particularly characteristic of Utamaro, a student of human nature. 

Lasipalatsin Mediakeskus Oy ©2001 8.9.2004