Shunga

Shunga (春画) is the Japanese term for erotic art.  The word “shunga” literally means spring picture, with “spring” being a euphemism for sex.  Most shunga was published in books, with the larger images spanning two facing pages.  Although shunga is generally unsigned, hidden signatures and known pseudonyms often permit identification of the artist.  Kuniyoshi is known to have used the pseudonym Hodoyoshi (程芳).  The titles of shunga are often plays on words, resulting is widely varying translations.  A good introduction to shunga may be found in these articles by Marijn Kruijff.

 

Series

Date

Robinson*

Tsukushi matsu fuji no shigarami (The Matsu Fuji Weir in Kyūshū)

1826

 

Chūshingura kōhen (Treasury of Loyal Retainers: The Sequel)

1829

 

Ōeyama

1831

 

Ōmi hakkei (Eight Views of Lovers’ Meetings)

c. 1833

 

Kaidan hyakki yagyō (Ghost Stories: Night Procession of the Hundred Demons)

c. 1836

 

Gyokueki chiwa hana ikada (Flowers by a Stream)

1837

 

Chinpen shinkeibai

1838

 

Edo nishiki-e azuma bunko (Edo Brocade, The Eastern Library)

1838

 

Hana-goyomi (Calendar of Flowers)

1839

 

Tanuki (Raccoon Dogs)

1842

209

Aratamete tanuki no tawamure (More Fun with Raccoon Dogs)

1844-1846

 

Dōke tanuki no... (The Popular Raccoon Dogs as...)

1846

 

Shunshoku matsu no sakae (The Vigorous Growth of the Erotic Pine)

c. 1848-1854

 

Shunshoku chisato no chigiri (Erotic Connections with Distant Lands)

c. 1840s-1860s

 

*Series number in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson, 1961, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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