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11 oktober 2017 

Hermaphrodite Art Displaying Women Reincarnated in Men

Hermaphrodites, who expose both male and female organs, very rarely appear in the Japanese art of shunga. In these remarkable prints, they are invariably depicted as feminine in terms of their clothing and hair.

Hermaphrodite art: Hermaphrodite with penis and vagina

Hermaphrodite‘ from the series ‘Makura Bunko (The Pillow Library)‘ (c.1822) by Keisai Eisen

Extended Clitorises

In the book ‘Shunga, Stages of Desire‘ it is noted that Yoshida Hanbei ( 1660-1692), the author who categorized penises and vaginas into nine grades via a ranking system, discussed hermaphroditism (futanari) and women with extended clitorises (sanenaga).


More than one hundred years later, in his text ‘Makura Bunko (The Pillow Library)‘, Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) also examines a hermaphrodite, to whom he referred with the Buddhist term henjo nanshi (literally, a woman reincarnated as a man).

hermaphrodite art: Mature man making love to a younger hermaphrodite

Mature man making love to a younger hermaphrodite‘ (c. 1826) from the series ‘Otsumori sakazuki‘ by Utagawa Kunitora

hermaphrodite art: A hermaphrodite exposing him/herself

A hermaphrodite exposing him/herself‘* (c. 1826) from the series ‘Otsumori sakazuki‘ by Utagawa Kunitora

Click HERE to check out other articles on shunga designs with striking themes!

The above Eisen piece is still available. You can find more info including price HERE !

Sources: ‘Shunga, Stages of Desire‘ published by the Honolulu Museum of Art
Japanese Erotic Art: The Hidden World of Shunga‘ by Ofer Shagan

*I am not sure if this image concerns a hermaphrodite since the lower part of the body is partly covered by the undergarment.

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