tied female in forest Shuncho shunga
Marijn Kruijff
1 min

Disquieting Scenes of Forced Lovemaking In Shunga Art

1 min

In shunga, rapists are mainly depicted as Yakuza or thieves, easily recognizable by their black clothing and scarfs (Fig.1), or as highway bandits (Fig.2), sometimes stealing the woman's clothes.


Shunga shows all sorts of men as perpetrators, and sometimes gang rape (Fig.1 and 3). Above all, most rapists are depicted as having physically unattractive attributes, such as an unusual amount of body hair, or unshaven or disfigured faces.

group rape scene Kunitora


Wetting the Fingers

An unfortunate female has an unwanted encounter with 3 ruffians (Fig.1). The heavily tattooed (faded in this print) bandit leader is preparing for penetration by wetting his fingers. The illustration comes from an unidentified book series issued around 1830 and attributed to Utagawa Kunitora.

group rape scene Kunitora detail


tied female in forest Shuncho shunga


Tied Victim

This koban-sized print (c.1789) by Katsukawa Shuncho depicts a highway bandit raping a tied female victim. The curled toes of the female suggest that she is enjoying it.

tied female in forest Shuncho shunga detail


Kuniyoshi rape shunga scene


Spectacled Rapist

Figure 3 features a notorious rape scene with three villains in a darkened room humiliating a woman. The leading man, who is wearing spectacles, penetrates his victim while holding a candle. The design comes from the book 'Byokei ri goyoshi ga' (c.1830) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). In the past it was suggested among shunga devotees that the spectacled rapist is the artist himself.

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Click HERE for a striking shunga tableau deicting the ghastly rape of a seamstress.