Disquieting Scenes of Forced Lovemaking In Shunga Art
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.
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.
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.
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.
Become a Premium member and check out the extended version featuring 5 additional rape scenes.
Click HERE for a striking shunga tableau deicting the ghastly rape of a seamstress.