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25 April 2018 

What Is Generally Considered to be the Most Gruesome Shunga?

We have (finally) obtained this great shunga print that is generally considered to be the most gruesome design within the genre. In this rather complex fold-out piece (shikake-e) from Kunisada‘s acclaimed ‘Tales of Pussy‘-series (c.1826), we witness a bizarre adaptation of the love-suicide tale of Chan and Choemon. In this adaptation the couple are returning from a long journey to Ise.

Love-suicide

At the time of their return they are humiliated by a gang of attractive youngsters. Ohan is forced to have sex with the youths in front of Choemon, culminating in her rape by the monk Dokyo with his huge phallus. Scared of what people might think, the two decide to commit love-suicide in the Katsuragawa River, but Choemon fails and is left alive.

Bitten Off

At first the picture shows Choemon clasping his hands in prayer before Ohan’s drowned body that has washed up on the banks of the river. When the trick page is opened, however, the horrific scene is revealed of Ohan as a ghost who has bitten off Choemon’s genitals and is flying off into the night’s sky.

Omitted

Striking is that this scene is frequently omitted from the book series. This may indicate that this design was added later, sold separately and/or was censored at the time.

gruesome art

gruesome art

gruesome art

gruesome art

gruesome art

gruesome art

Click HERE and check out more amazing shunga art by Kunisada…!!!

Source: ‘Shunga, Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art‘ by the British Museum

Now that you have seen one of the most shocking designs in shunga I was wondering what do you think is the most shocking work of art (in shunga or in general)?

Share your thoughts in the comments 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.
G. D. L. Rupelle
By

G. D. L. Rupelle

on 27 April 2018

Well, I purchased one from you maybe a year or two ago, of a monochrome print depicting a man having sex with a corpse which he has propped up on the edge of the Edo era type of coffin, and because the woman's corpse is very emaciated and approaching decomposition, it is, in my eyes one of the most gruesome shunga prints I have seen.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 27 April 2018

Thanks a lot for your comment, Guy. Good choice. Yes, that's indeed a classic shocker. The gravedigger who has slapped the slack legs of the dead woman's body over his shoulder for easier access to her private parts. Very discomforting scene. I am not sure if I gave you the translation of the gravedigger's dialogue (because I came across it later) but you can find it here: https://shungagallery.com/utagawa-toyokuni-shocking-shunga-corpse/

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