Hokusai's Favorite Composition of Copulating Couples in the Open Air
05 september 2018 
3 min. read

Hokusai's Favorite Composition of Copulating Couples in the Open Air

For variation, this love scene from Hokusai‘s The Adonis Plant (Fukujuso) takes place in the open air. The included text explains that the couple are lovers for three years but yet unable to wed. The man wears a black and white checkered kimono and headscarf, and they are still wearing their geta clogs.


Even for this Hokusai album, the scene is a bit congested. It’s like the figures are trapped in a box. They display the quintessential Hokusai touch: memorable shapes among audacious kimono patterns.

Hokusai fukujuso

Fig.1. ‘Intimate lovers in the open air‘ (c.1822). Plate 4 from the series ‘Fukujuso (The Adonis Plant)‘ by Katsushika Hokusai


A rather similar scene appears in Hokusai’s Manpuku wagojin (Fig.2), although that one takes place inside with the lovers partially covered by heavy bedding. A couple of years ago I came a new book series by the artist (previously attributed to his daughter Oi) named Kuruwa no Tanoshimi that includes an illustration (Fig.3) that’s very reminiscent of the Fukujuso design. The only difference is the inclusion of an umbrella behind which the amorous couple hides.

Fig.2. ‘Sexual bliss‘ (c.1821) from the series ‘Manpuku wagojin (Gods of Intercourse)‘ by Hokusai

Fig.3. ‘In the open air with umbrella‘ (c.1820s) from the series ‘Kuruwa no Tanoshimi‘ by Hokusai

adonis plant: Meiji remake of Hokusai 'Fukujuso (The Adonis Plant)' design' by an unknon Meiji artist (possibly Ikeda Terukata)

Fig.4. Meiji remake of Hokusai ‘Fukujuso (The Adonis Plant)‘ design’ by an unknown Meiji artist (possibly Ikeda Terukata)

Click HERE for a masterful street scene from a decade earlier that’s part of Azuma nishiki (The Brocades of the East)…!!!

Click HERE for more interesting content on Hokusai’s The Adonis Plant series…!!

Reference: ‘The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga (Part 23): Fukujuso (Lovemaking at New Year’s)‘ by Richard Lane

Who is your favorite shunga artist (and why)? Leave your answer in the comment box below!

About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more than 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.


on 09 Feb 2020

My favorite artists are Hokusai and Kunisada. I love how Hokusai focuses on figures of lovers, so they fill all the space of the image and every single detail depends on them and puts an additional accent on them. And 'Azuma Genji' by Kunisada is just brilliant (especially that piece depicting Prince Genji). However, I appreciate all shunga artists due to the great esthetic pleasure they'd given to us. Thanks a lot for your posts!



on 10 Feb 2020

Thanks a lot for your continuous comments. I love to hear your thoughts on shunga...really appreciated!

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