The famous Utagawa school artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) was a fruitful designer of erotica. His work was made to the most painstaking standards of color-printing, and his focus was more on the lives of ordinary townspeople.
A Thousand Chores
A nice example of this is the four page fold-out design below that takes place in a Fukugawa restaurant near the harbour. The vast room is crowded with geishas going about a thousand chores among huge bags of laundry, carrying their instrument cases and trays laden with platters of food, some stepping towards the outside area, where a party can just be seen taking place.
On the right, in a corner that is anything but screened off, a couple are making love lying on some sacks, while three geishas in the foreground exchange tittle-tattle about it. A young mysterious client wearing a hood (zukin) to conceal his identity, is looking for a female companion.
It is Kuniyoshi’s mastery that leads our eyes from the crowded area on the left, slowly to the panel on the far right to the more quiet secret corner with the intimate couple.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for future posts please don’t hesitate to contact me directly or through the comment box below!