Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Diversity and Characteristics of Shunga Expression Observed from a Quantity Analysis of the Pictures:
What has been painted to Edo Shunga

SUZUKI, Kenkou

(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies, Department of Japanese Studies)

Key words:

Shunga, Ukiyoe, Prostitute, Japanese Erotic Art, Edo Culture, Pornography, Database, Statistics Iconology, Homosexuality

Heretofore, Shunga has been marginalized and excluded from academic research in favor of nature paintings. Recently, however, numerous book of research on Shunga have been published, and databases of Shunga have been established in universities and research institutes.

This paper analyzes 3500 picture figures of the Shunga collections that are kept by the International Research Center for Japanese Studies and utilizes quantity analysis to examine the picture figures expressed in Shunga.

Shunga is an often misunderstood form of artistic expression. For instance, there is a common misunderstanding that Shunga is the same as pornography and often depicts homosexual acts. This paper attempts to correct such misunderstandings by illuminating the characteristics of Edo Shunga.

As the daily lives of ordinary people were often depicted in the Shunga of the Edo period, this paper also discusses the culture and customs in the Edo period by analyzing the Shunga of the era.