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Hokusai Shunga Prints With Copulating Mice and Dogs (P2)

In this second part (here you can find Part 1) we’ll study one of Hokusai shunga scenes that is illustrated in Vol.I of the series ‘The Horny God of Izumo (En-musubi Izumo no sugi)‘.

hokusai - the horny god of izumo - shunga

Fig.1. ‘Intimate couple and two mimicking dogs‘ (c.1822) from the series ‘The Horny God of Izumo (En-musubi Izumo no sugi)‘ by Katsushika Hokusai

The print depicted in Fig.1 is a complex and unconventional shunga scene. It features a pair of lovers having sex in a passageway. The man is entering the woman from the rear, as she bends forward while her hands touch the ground.  Behind them, a pair of dogs haphazardly imitate the lover’s pose (just as the lovers themselves unwittingly mimic “doggy style”). To make the design even more complex another pair of lovers is seen through the grilled window at the right, though they are making love in a more conventional way.

At first glance, this image may seem a bit too unsophisticated for some, more sensitive readers. However Hokusai is a very unsophisticated artist. His delight lies in the eccenticities, the flaws, the blemishes of mankind. The fact that he was particularly attracted to the erotic is underlined by the accompanying texts (frequently from Hokusai‘s own hand).

These texts include some of the most explicitly obscene comic book-style onamatopoeias ever employed – in this, or any other civilization – representing the sounds of copulation. In this case, the “conversation” is from the dogs and translates:

[White bastard]: “Brownie, Brownie, get your arse moving! These humans are so hot at it – makes me feel real   horny!”

[Brown bitch]:  “To Hell with the humans! – keep your mind on the business at hand!”

At the time Hokusai created this book he was in his early sixties. Most probably his sexual appetites were decreasing but not his fascination with human sexuality. For this reason, it’s tempting to envision something of the artist himself in the male’s dog expression of restrained yet passionate excitement.

hokusai - shunga

Fig.2. ‘Copulating mice‘ (c.1821) from the series ‘Gods of Intercourse (Manpuku wagojin)‘ by Katushika Hokusai

Manpuku Wagojin 

In Hokusai‘s series ‘Manpuku wagojin (Gods of Intercourse)‘ one can find a striking scene (Fig.2.) of an almost completely nude intimate couple at the moment just before penetration. They are watching coupling mice standing on a box on the left. Unfortunately I don’t have the translation of this text but I am pretty sure both “couples” have some amusing observations on each other’s activities.

Source: ‘The Complete Ukiyo-e Shunga (Ukiyo-e Shunga Meihin Shusei):‘The Horny God of Izumo (Vol.1) by Richard Lane

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