Koryusai Print Depicting a Tricky Encounter of an Adolescent Couple
A young couple, indulging in their lust, have become thoroughly entangled with each other, while an older man sleeps nearby. They have limited space and if the boy stretches his legs too far, he will knock down the folding screen.
Small Is Better Than Big
Chrysanthemums and grasses can be seen outside in the garden and, not coincidently, this scene refers to the ninth month, Kikuzuki (‘Chrysanthemum month’, written in top of the right margin). The text below the subtitle is as follows: “Sun no ma ni shaku o koetari (Small is better than big)“.
This might be a reference to the difference in size between the penis of the old man and that of the young boy. Older men are usually depicted with larger penises than young boys in shunga. Although men were said to improve with age, an energetic young boy might be preferable for a girl.
Superior In Taste
The last two characters in the margin, monijibuna, have a seasonal meaning. Funa (buna when combined with another character) is known in English as a Crucian carp or roach, a fish that lives in Lake Biwa. It looks like a smaller version of a carp (koi) with which it is often associated, and is generally considered to be superior in taste, and thus the text provides a double association of ‘ the smaller, the better’. As a word alluding to a specific season, it is associated with autumn, when it’s tail turns red like the leaves of the maple tree (momiji), hence its Japanese name.