Kielletyt kuvat - vanhaa eroottista taidetta Japanista

Puupiirrokset, osa 7

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


19 Kikukawa Eizan, "Scenes from the Pleasure District (E-awase kingai shô)"
Woodblock, set of 12, ôban
26.0 x 37.6 cm

In the closing years of the Edo period, ukiyo-e boasted ever more beautiful and ostentatious color. Accordingly, in seeking to depict a world of splendor, the subject matter moved away from the sexual interactions of common people and towards sumptuous locales such as the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. This series is an example of such a work. The clever, witty exchanges in the dialogues are an equal match for the images that contain them.

[fig. 1] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Characters: An oiran and young customer. Situation: The young customer rapturously makes love to the oiran.
Monologue by young customer: "'The Tale of Genji' (a work of classical Japanese literature) tells everything of the beauty of Lady Murasaki (one of the main female characters), but you are just as beautiful, above comparison to even the moon or the flowers. When I look at your figure and your dress, it seems to me that you are the finest in the world."
Written on poem sheet hanging from plum blossoms:
"To none other than you
Is the scent of the plum blossom
Given to smell;
The color and the fragrance
Known only to you"

[fig. 2] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Characters: An oiran and customer. Situation: Having finished with her other customers, the oiran finally makes her way to the last customer's room, where she showers him with flattery. Popular oiran would sometimes meet with several clients in the same night.
Dialogue: Customer: "You've made me wait quite a while, haven't you. I’m not letting you go anywhere after this."
Oiran: "I wouldn't exchange you for the moon or the flowers. Because of you, I don't hate even my most arduous duties. Please be sure to never abandon me."

[fig. 3] Setting: A daughter of a great house. Characters: The daughter and her lover. Situation: The lover has secretly made his way into the daughter's room.
Dialogue: Man: "Secretly making love in this place, it's a particularly good feeling. If I could I would stay coupled with you like this for the rest of my life."
Woman: "Tonight I was feeling lonely, reading a book. Do you think this is too dangerous? Ah - go deeper in, strongly. Uh, ooh, ooh."

[fig. 4] Setting: The bedroom of the mistress of a mercantile house. Characters: The mistress and her lover. Situation: The mistress has brought her lover over for a rendezvous.
Dialogue: Lover: "It feels like an octopus’s suckers sticking to my palm. This is truly a high quality vagina."
Older woman: "I feel good, like I've eaten many treats at once. I lack the words to describe it. I'm satisfied time and again, like my forty-four bones are melting."

[fig. 5] Setting: A rear parlor in a commoner house. Situation: Two lovers enjoy an encounter immediately upon the turning of the year.
Dialogue: Man: "There's no day when all the creatures under the sun -- from the bush warbler that calls from the flowers to the frog living in the pond -- are prohibited from having sex. The first exchange of the new year is important."
Woman: "Even the crows and the white egrets in the mountains have someone they love. The clumsy-footed mandarin ducks are also very affectionate. Please, don't ever abandon me."

[fig. 6] Setting: A room in a ryôri-chaya in Yoshiwara's Nakanochô (the central street in the Yoshiwara pleasure district). Situation: On the evening when hundreds of blossoming cherry trees are brought in to line the main street, a customer makes love to a geisha he has called in for some entertainment. Officially, geisha only sold their talents at dance and song, and were prohibited from sleeping with clients.
Dialogue: Customer: "On such an interesting Nakanochô evening, with a sky so beautiful as to make the flowers sing its praises, soliciting a geisha in this place -- I'm such a wastrel."
Geisha: "Stop saying such foolish things and let's quickly be done. It wouldn't be good if someone were to come by."

[fig. 7] Setting: The room of a daughter of a great house. Situation: The lovers steal away for a private encounter.
Dialogue: Young man: "Doing it in this kind of place feels particularly good. It's really making me aroused."
Daughter: "It would be bad if someone came upon us, so you have to be quick. Oh, I'm getting very dizzy. Yes, ooh, uh, uh, that's it, that's it."

[fig. 8] Setting: A room in a commoner house. Situation: A husband and wife, quite familiar with each other, enjoy each other's company to the full.
Dialogue: Woman: "'Embarrassed, the hand clasped underneath the pillow' is a good lyric."
Man: "This isn't the sort of place to quote jôruri (a contemporary form of narrative performance, chanted to shamisen accompaniment). We’re in the middle of a big commotion here."
Poem on round fan:
"In mid-air
A little cuckoo crosses, calling --
Heralding the end of spring"
Poem on lantern:
"Whoever you are
Let me show you
The lantern on the eave"

[fig. 9] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Situation: A seasoned customer and a prostitute make love.
Dialogue: Customer: "An oiran looks good from either the side or the front . . . perhaps today, let's make it the side."
Oiran: "Don't say such useless, foolish things; hurry up and come inside."
Poem on lamp:
"The wind of the fan
Parts the mist
The hollyhocks in the valley
Beautiful to the eye"

[fig. 10] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Situation: A secret meeting between a prostitute and her lover. The prostitutes of Yoshiwara were prohibited from having non-paying lovers (mabu), but on the other hand, having a lover who would be faithful to them was a way to demonstrate their sincerity of heart.
Dialogue: Prostitute: "Out of all the many men I've slept with, I promised myself deeply to you, and I sneak out to meet you -- but after we part my feelings grow even stronger."
Mabu: "Endure the hard times and the suffering, and at the end we will be man and wife. Just look forward to that day."

[fig. 11] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Situation: A customer praising the beauty of an oiran.
Dialogue: Customer: "Your skin is whiter than the reflection of the rising sun on snow, and soft and smooth like white habutae (silk cloth with a gloss). To touch it is indescribable."
Oiran: "Oh, yes, go deeper into me, and strongly . . . Hold me tightly. Ooh, ooh, uh, uh."

[fig. 12] Setting: A room in the Yoshiwara licensed quarters. Situation: A satisfied samurai customer.
Dialogue: Customer: "I feel more gratified than if I'd conquered a land worth a million koku of rice (at the time, the worth of a fief was measured by the amount of rice it yielded). As long as no one comes, I want to stay just like this."
Oiran: "Please, stop babbling and start going in earnest. Oh, yes, that's it."
Customer: "Ah, hold it up a little stronger. You're blessed with a true jôkai (a high-quality vagina). It's so superb I can't even express it with words."

21 Keisai Eisen, "A Voyage Through the Ten Realms (Jukkai no zu)" Woodblock, set of 10 mounted in an orijô, chûban ca
22.7 x 34.5 cm

The erudite Keisai Eisen conceived a variety of new devices for his shunga series, one of which is featured in this work. The leading institutional religion in Japan was Buddhism, which taught that humanity must pass through ten realms before reaching true enlightenment. In Japanese, the sound of the character for realm (kai) is a homophone for a slang term for vagina. Playing upon that, this series takes ten aspects of male-female sexual relations and applies them to the "ten realms."

[fig. 1] "Realm of Torment" (where demons torment those who performed evil deeds in their previous life). Characters: Oman (a geisha) and Gengobei (a samurai), the main characters from the kabuki play "Kamikakete san go taisetsu." A tragedy, the plot tells the story of Gengobei, who while on a secret mission falls in love with the geisha Oman. Mistakenly believing that she has betrayed him, he goes on a rampage, ultimately killing Oman as well as his allies. Here Eisen seems to be implying that love-inspired hatred creates a Hell on earth.

[fig. 2] "Realm of Hungry Ghosts" (where those who committed evil deeds in their previous life suffer the pain of constant hunger). Characters: Ochiyo (a greengrocer's foster daughter) and Hanbei (the same greengrocer's foster son), the main characters of the kabuki play "Shinjû yoigôshin." Ochiyo and Hanbei were a young husband and wife in a greengrocer family in Osaka, but were both foster children. The father of the family harries Ochiyo day and night; the poor girl tries speaking to the mother, but instead of changing his behavior the father simply decides to expel Hanbei from the family. Tragically, the distressed couple commits double-suicide, hoping to be together happily ever after in the next world. At the time, children born to poor families who could not feed them became foster children. Ochiyo and Hanbei's childhood penury, a distant cause of their unhappy fate, recalls the constant hunger of the hungry ghosts.

[fig. 3] "Realm of Beasts" (where because of misdeeds in a past life one is reborn as a dumb animal). Characters: Osato (the daughter of a sushi shop) and Yasuke (an apprentice at the same shop), characters from the fourth act, "Sushi-ya," of the kabuki play "Yoshitsune senbon zakura." At her parents' urging, Osato marries Yasuke, the apprentice of her parents' shop. However, Yasuke is actually the son of a nobleman, to whom the father had previously been indebted; pursued by his enemies, Yasuke has taken refuge here, hiding his identity. Osato discovers the truth by chance, and although she learns to her dismay that he has a noble wife and children, saves Yasuke and his family. In this tragic love story, a difference in birth status is without doubt a cause of suffering.

[fig. 4] "Realm of Bloodshed" (a realm of unceasing war and strife). Characters: Kashiku (a prostitute who is a violent drunk) and Rokusaburô (a short-tempered samurai).

[fig. 5] "Human Realm" Characters: Yûgiri (a prostitute) and Izaemon (a young master of a great house), from the kabuki play "Yûgiri awa no naruto." A son of a wealthy merchant, Izaemon falls deeply in love with the popular prostitute Yûgiri, lavishing money on her in an attempt to win her heart, but his father, unable to look on impassively, cuts him off -- finally leaving him penniless. However, unable to forget Yûgiri, one night Izaemon appears at her brothel, loitering there in a dazed state clad only in paper robes. Afterwards, the story takes many unexpected twists and turns. This scene takes as its theme a man of the “human realm,” one who has fallen completely victim to a woman’s charms, even though well aware she is a prostitute.

[fig. 6] "Celestial Realm" (where the gods reside, but considered one of the secular realms). Characters: A celestial maiden (ten’nyo) and long-nosed goblin (tengu). Heaven of course being outside the realm of human knowledge, here Eisen imagines a scene of an maiden copulating with a goblin.

[fig. 7] "Realm of Learning" (where those able to hear and understand the Buddha's teachings reside). Characters: Oume (a daughter of a inn) and Kumenosuke (a page at a temple), from the kabuki play "Tsunobitai urami no jayanagi." In the play, Kumenosuke and Oume secretly conceive a child together. When this is found out, the two are forcibly separated from one another, and Oume is proposed marriage by another man. On the day of the marriage, Kumenosuke and Oume take each other's hand and run away together, committing double-suicide in the end. Kumenosuke's position as a temple page may be the connection to the Realm of Learning (shômon), but the text indicates that there is also a pun on seimon, the vows exchanged by the two lovers.

[fig. 8] "Realm of Realization" (for those who are awakened to the truth of Buddhism not through others' teachings but through unforeseen fate). Characters: Onoe (a prostitute) and Idahachi (a samurai), characters from a popular contemporary Shinnai song, "Kaerizaki nagori no inochige." Idahachi falls in love with the Yoshiwara courtesan Onoe, and gets disowned by his parents due to his profligate wooing. Onoe borrows as much money as she can in order to take care of him, but it then transpires that another man wants to purchase her from her establishment. In despair, the two lovers attempt to commit double-suicide but fail -- only to discover that the man purchasing her is Idahachi's uncle, doing it so the two lovers can be together. Thus the story is one of happiness (enlightenment) achieved through unexpected "fate."

[fig. 9] “Realm of Bodhisattvas” (for those who aspire to enlightenment through helping others; Bodhisattvas were objects of veneration after Buddhas). Characters: Ohan (a fourteen-year old girl) and Chôemon (thirty-eight year old man), characters from the kabuki play "Katsuragawa renri no shigarami." Chôemon, although married into an obi shop and, at thirty-eight, well past the age of discretion, shares a bed with Ohan, a girl twenty-four years his junior he finds at an inn while traveling. Unable to forget the girl, he arranges for his wife's younger brother to marry her, but when it becomes clear that Ohan is already pregnant, Chôemon is instead driven from his in-laws' home. Thus trapped, he and Ohan commit double-suicide. In classical Japanese literature, references to the spirit of the Bodhisattva Kannon being visible in innocent, merciful women often appear, and it seems that Chôemon saw a Bodhisattva in Ohan.

[fig. 10] “Realm of Buddhahood” (for those who have achieved enlightenment). Characters: Azuma (a prostitute), Okiku (wife of Yojibei) and Yojibei (a chônin), from the kabuki play "Yamazaki yojibei nebiki no kadomatsu." As the story goes, Yojibei, a najimi client of Azuma's, becomes the sworn brother of a poor young man who is also in love with her, and pledges to watch over him. When the young man injures another man in a heated argument, Yojibei goes to prison in his stead, but succeeds in escaping through the efforts of Azuma and his wife Okiku. Afterwards, with the young man's help he is able to be together with Azuma, but eventually leaves her to return to the comforting arms of his wife, finally achieving peace of mind. Elevating "marital harmony" as the ultimate form of male-female relations is a typical device found in shunga sets.

22 Utagawa Kuniyoshi, "Eight Views of Lovers' Meetings (Ômi hakkei)"
Woodblock, 8 from a set of 10, ôban
ca. 1833
25.0 x 37.8 cm 

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, active in the late Edo period, employed many varied devices in his ukiyo-e; this work's title, "Eight Views of Lovers' Meetings (Ômi hakkei)," is a pun on "Eight Views of Ômi (Ômi hakkei)," a series of landscapes of the Ômi region. The “Eight Views of Ômi” consisted of eight picturesque landscapes of the famous scenery around Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, modeled on the “Eight Views of Xiao and Xiang,” eight picturesque landscapes of the famous scenery around Dongting Lake in China. Entering the Edo period, each region in Japan developed its own mitate (a form of visual or literary parody that reworks classical themes in a contemporary context) for the "Eight Views of Xiao and Xiang." A small fan image printed in indigo (ai-zuri) in each scene hints at one of the landscapes from the “Eight Views of Ômi,” and the scenes of men and women in the act of love form a mitate for the features of each “view.”

[fig. 1] Evening Rain over Karasaki (Karasaki yau). Karasaki is a famous spot on the edge of Lake Biwa marked by a single large pine tree; rain has been a symbol for the act of love in Asia since ancient times. Situation and Mitate: A samurai lord is seducing a young lady-in-waiting. The bonsai pine tree behind the samurai is a mitate for the pine tree at Karasaki; the samurai's lust a mitate for the evening rain; and the uneasy feeling associated with evening rain can be seen as a mitate for the hesitation of the young woman.

[fig. 2] Wild Geese Descending to Katada (Katada rakugan). Katada is famous for its "Ukimidô," a temple built to seem as if it was floating on the waters of Lake Biwa. Situation and Mitate: A thoroughly excited man kneels down and fixes on his target. The kneeling man's erection, hovering in space, is a mitate for Katada's Ukimidô. The Japanese word for "goose" (gan) was a vulgar term for the head of the penis, and the man's "goose" here descending into the woman's "nest" is the second half of the mitate.

[fig. 3] Evening Bell from Mii (Mii banshô). Mii refers to Mii Temple, famous for its great temple bell (also known as “Benkei’s Hanging Bell”). Situation and Mitate: The man drinks tea as he fills his partner amply over and over again, while the woman bites down upon the hem of her kimono to muffle her screams of ecstasy. A woman's vagina was sometimes referred to as a bell, and the thick, stiff pole used to strike the bell serves as a metaphor for the penis. Completing the mitate, the woman's cries represent the sound of the evening bell.

[fig. 4] Mt. Hira in Evening Snow (Hira bosetsu). Mt. Hira is a mountain on the northern bluffs of Lake Biwa famous for developing a crown of snow earlier than the other mountains in the area. "Evening Snow" refers to the scene visible at evening where the darkened base of the mountain contrasts with the bright reflection of the white snow at its top. Situation and Mitate: The husband caught sight of his wife stripped to the waist getting ready to wash herself off (the wooden bucket on the veranda would be used for this purpose) and was inspired to make love to her. The husband, with his hips raised high, is a mitate for Mt. Hira, while the white skin of the wife's nude upper body is a mitate for the evening snow atop Mt. Hira.

[fig. 5] Seta in Evening Glow (Seta sekishô). Seta is famous for the beautiful, Chinese-style arched bridge that spans the Seta River; “evening glow” refers to scenery cast in the colors of the sunset. Situation and Mitate: During passionate lovemaking, the woman in her agitation has assumed a bridge-like posture, with the bright red futon a mitate for the sunset.

[fig. 6] Returning Sails off Yabase (Yabase kihan). Yabase was an old port on Lake Biwa, while "returning sails" refers to the sight of boats returning home. Situation and Mitate: A husband makes love to his wife immediately upon his return home. The wife waiting at home of course represents the port, Yabase, while the husband who has rushed home to her would be a mitate for the returning sails.

[fig. 7] Autumn Moon over Ishiyama (Ishiyama shûgetsu). Ishiyama is famous for the Ishiyama Temple, where Murasaki Shikibu wrote the "Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari)," but it was also a famous site for moon-viewing. "Autumn Moon" (shûgetsu) commonly meant the full moon on the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar -- appreciating the beauty of the autumn moon has been a custom since ancient times in East Asia. Situation and Mitate: A man and a woman make love in a seated position by the light of a candle. The shape of their seated bodies is a mitate for Ishiyama, and the nude woman's glowing white body represents the light of the autumn moon.

[fig. 8] Awazu in Clearing Mist (Awazu seiran). Awazu was a famous spot overlooking Lake Biwa where there remained many ruins from an old castle. The word seiran refers to mist that suddenly gathers on a mountain during the height of day, only to clear again in an instant with the mountain breeze. Situation and Mitate: A carpenter just off the job has come directly to the brothel and passionately makes love to this prostitute while still in his work clothes. Carpenters at the time would begin work early in the morning and finish around two or three in the afternoon. The pair, facing upwards and stacked on top of one another, form a shape reminiscent of a castle. Completing the mitate, the sudden relief of the carpenter's acute sexual desire symbolizes the clearing mist. 

Lasipalatsin Mediakeskus Oy ©2001 22.9.2004