Senju Shunga's Erotic Ode to Hokusai's Fuji Series
22 september 2022 
47 min. read

Senju Shunga's Erotic Ode to Hokusai's Fuji Series

The Swedish sensual artist Senju Shunga has started a rather ambitious shunga project. On his Instagram account he tells, 'The last few years I have explored less explicit forms of erotic art and I have learned many new things. Not only have I pushed my boundaries of how to paint digitally, but I have also honed and fine tuned my expression of the sensual.

Hokusai's 36 views of Mt. Fuji

However, as so many other artists I regularly attempt to return to my roots, just to see how things will come out using all new knowledge and skill acquired. I will attempt to create a 36 print series more attuned with traditional Japanese shunga (albeit with my personal artistic touch) titled after Katsushika Hokusai's "36 views of Mt. Fuji". It will be kind of an homage to the Japanese painter that is still continuously changing the face of both Japanese and western art.'

The following three pieces are the first ones of the series...

senju shunga fuji hokusaiFig.1. 'Yuukaze (evening breeze)' (Sep 2022)

senju shunga fuji hokusai detailFig.1a. Detail

penetration close up Senju ShungaFig.1b. Detail

senju shunga shungaFig.2. Hanamikaze (sake drunk while viewing the cherry blossoms)' (Sep 2022)

masturbating female senju shungaFig.2a. Detail

senju shunga Tsutakazura (ivy and vines)Fig.3. 'Tsutakazura (ivy and vines)' (Sep 2022)

Fig.3. 'Tsutakazura (ivy and vines)' detailFig.3a. Detail

Detail 'Tsutakazura (ivy and vines)'Fig.3b. Detail

senju shunga mirrorFig.4. "Kyouzou (reflection in a mirror)' (Oct 2022)

senju shunga Kyouzou reflection in a mirrorFig.4a. 

Fig.4b.  Detail

senju shunga Kigiku (yellow chrysanthemumFig.5. 'Kigiku (Yellow Chrysanthemum)' (Oct 2022)

Fig.5. 'Kigiku yellow chrysanthemum detailFig.5a. Detail

senju shunga kimono patternsFig.6. 'Hanamifubuki (falling cherry blossoms)' (Oct 2022)

senju shunga kimono patterns detailFig.6a. Detail

senju shunga bondageFig.7. 'Yabu no naka (in a bamboo grove)' (Oct 2022)

senju shunga bondage detailFig.7a.

senju shunga Sazaido no FujiFig.8. 'Sazaido no Fuji (wisteria at Sazai temple)' (Nov 2022)

Fig.8. 'Sazaido no Fuji wisteria at Sazai templeFig.8a.

senju shunga tengu maskFig.9. 'Daranibo (tengu of mt. Fuji) ' (10 Nov 2022)

senju shunga tengu mask detailFig.9a. Detail

tengu mask senju shungaFig.9b.

senju shunga Irokoi (love affair)Fig.10. 'Irokoi (love affair)' (21 Nov 2022) 

Irokoi Senju ShungaFig.10a. Detail

senju shunga Onnayu women’s bathFig.11. 'Onnayu (women’s bath)' (Jan 2023)  

Powerful Effect

Irezumi, the traditional Japanese tattoo, is the main focus of my latest painting in my "36 Views Of Mount Fuji" series. After 32 years as a tattoo artist, of which I have dedicated 20 to Irezumi, it is a subject matter that frequently appears in my painted works. The intricatly decorated skin of persons wearing Japanese body suit tattoos can have a powerful effect on the viewer. I find it intriguing and exiting to pair my insight, knowledge and experience of tattooing with my Shunga art. Katsushika Hokusai was celebrated for the many inventive ways he depicted the famous and sacred mountain in his original woodblock print series from the 1830s. As I strive to emulate the master's genius compositions in my version, I find my artistic skills and imagination challenged.

Hokusai's Red Fuji

Since the Shunga theme takes centre stage in my series, the mountain often becomes a supporting actor, a fond, and I am content to let it do so. As the series progresses, my senses sharpen, and I am sure I will find new ways of incorporating Fuji's well known shape in many new and imaginative ways. In "Onnayu", I am shamelessly using my version of one of the more famous of Hokusai's Fuji compositions - the so called "Red Fuji". Traditional communal bath houses (Sento) often display a large mural painting of Mount Fuji, and the image came to me without hesitation. Being a great fan of Sento bath houses myself (I have even bathed with the Yakuza a few times on my visits to Kyoto), this painting makes me long for the scolding hot and steaming water of a Japanese public bath

senju shunga irezumiFig.11a. Detail

senju shunga Oboroyo (misty, moonlit night

Fig.12. 'Oboroyo (misty, moonlit night) ' (7 Jan 2023)

Best and Worse

Poetry could most likely not exist without this strange and unique human trait we call LOVE. This fleeting yet immensely powerful emotion and seemingly natural state that we all so desperately seek… Without love, we are lost, lonely, seeking… Love is clarity and insanity at the same time. In its name the best and worse of human actions are committed. Elevating us… Destroying us…

Worst Fears

Love is not simple, yet it is the easiest thing in the world. Without the vulnerability it blesses us with, we are never whole and complete. In order to love, we must learn our own hearts, face our worst fears… let go of the ideas we have been taught and hold so true. Love can be turned outwards as well as inwards. We do not need a partner in order to love. We can love ourselves. Unconditionally.

senju shunga Oboroyo (misty, moonlit night detail

Fig.12a. Detail

senju shunga Yuuyake (evening glow

Fig.13. 'Yuuyake (evening glow)' (7 Jan 2023)

senju shunga Yuuyake (evening glow detail

Fig.13a. Detail

senju shunga Yuuyake (evening glow nude masturbating female

Fig.13b. Detail

senju shunga Mitsugo (sweet whispers of love)

Fig.14. 'Mitsugo (sweet whispers of love)'

Mitsugo (sweet whispers of love) senju shunga


senju shunga

Fig.15. 'Roushou (old pine tree) '

Overly Orgasm Oriented Drivel

"A wonderful thing with creating this shunga series is that I have to constantly be on my toes and come up with new and interesting designs. Since they all have to show the famous Japanese mountain as well makes it extra challenging! Back when I started painting erotica, I sought to portray what had become so distorted through the internet in a more natural and intimate manner. I have no interest in merely copying the unrealistic, many times violent and overly orgasm oriented drivel the "industry" is churning out.

Less Flattering Labels

I want to create erotica and shunga art based on real human emotions and desire. Since it all gets filtered through my individual self, with my unique experiences, fantasies and imagination, I am fully aware that what I paint will not suit everyone. I am perfectly fine with that. I sometimes receive messages from persons that dress me up in varying and less flattering labels. I guess that is a part of showing my art to the public. l am not going to say "I don't care", because it's difficult and sad to be misunderstood as an artist and person. However, I try to deal with it as best as I could. Usually through creating new art." (Senju Shunga on Instagram)

Roushou (old pine tree senju shunga


senju shunga Aofuji (Blue Fuji)

Fig.16. 'Aofuji (Blue Fuji) '

Blue Fuji Senju Shunga


senju shunga 17. “Getagake (wearing clogs)”

Fig.17. 'Getagake (wearing clogs) '

senju shunga 17. “Getagake (wearing clogs) detail


senju shunga 18. Shiragiku (white chrysanthemum)

Fig.18. 'Shiragiku (white chrysanthemum) '

senju shunga 18. Shiragiku (white chrysanthemum) detail


senju shunga “Tokaido Yoshida (Yoshida along the Tokaido)”

Fig..19.  'Kanagawa oki nami-ura (great wave off Kanagawa) '

'Tokaido Yoshida (Yoshida along the Tokaido) ' detail senju shunga


senju shunga  'Tokaido Yoshida (Yoshida along the Tokaido) '

Fig.20.  'Tokaido Yoshida (Yoshida along the Tokaido) '

senju shunga  'Tokaido Yoshida (Yoshida along the Tokaido) detailFig.20a.

senju shunga Tako to Ama (the Octopus and the Pearl Diver)

Fig.21. 'Tako to Ama (the Octopus and the Pearl Diver) '

"Tako to Ama (the Octopus and the Pearl Diver)"

When working on this series of paintings, it is not possible to resist the urge to sneak in small celebrations of the rest of Hokusai's art. Some time ago I created another version of this theme, but this soft and new style of mine offers up completely different avenues of creativity. Just like Hokusai did, I change and evolve at regular but unpredictable intervals. And that is the whole point with making art! To see what new and exciting paths my creative mind will lead me down. I often think that "Now I have found it! My style!", only to be surprised of how unexpected the new direction really was. I once asked an old Japanese tattoo master a thousand questions. "How to think about this composition and about that design?". After listening to all my anxious questions he said calmly ; "Better no thinking". This has since then become a very important tool in my box of things that I make art with. Art is about making! (Senju Shunga on Instagram)

senju shunga Tako to Ama


senju shunga Tatsudoshi (year of the dragon)

Fig.22. 36 Views Of Mount Fuji no. 22 "Tatsudoshi (year of the dragon)"

"Tatsudoshi (year of the dragon)"

True intimacy has been my guiding word since the I first started to paint my shunga. It is my personal belief that what I create cannot be done without keeping this in mind. There is a connection between human beings that goes beyond the mere physical. There are emotions and sensations that are impossible to put into words. Perhaps I'm just old but it seems to me that the time we are living in, is one of great disconnection. At first glance, social media promises a heightened interconnection, but in reality it is a vehicle of separation. It is my hope that what I paint can be a speck of rust in their machine. In this piece, the mighty Mount Fuji is as tiny as a a little rock on the ground. I truly enjoy creating all the little details that make up my works. Even if the viewer hardly notice them, they are vital to the completed painting. Like designing and painting a tiny shunga print with a tiny folding screen in that can carry the great big Mount Fuji.

senju shunga Tatsudoshi (year of the dragon) detail lovers


senju shunga Tatsudoshi (year of the dragon) detail dragon tattoo


senju shunga the butterfly's dream total design

Fig.23. 36 Views Of Mount Fuji no.23 "Chouchou no yume (the butterfly's dream)"

The Butterfly's Dream

Our dreams seem so very real to us in our sleep. Sometimes they even make more sense then this thing we call reality. To us, dreams are.a part of our existence, and they have been the inspiration for thousands upon thousands of art works throughout human history. This is not one of them though. The inspiration for this came from a photo I found on the internet somewhere. Many times, my paintings begin just like that. There might be a certain pose, or just a color. Sometimes they are pornographic images and other times they are landscapes, kimono patterns or old Japanese paintings and woodblock prints. What they do, all these images, is that they trigger my artistic vision, fuse and blend with other images and impressions, experiences, old folktales and a myriad of things stored in my mind. If you would see the starting point for some of my paintings, perhaps you would scratch your head and mutter "what (how) was he thinking?" Most of the time, I don't even know myself, to be honest. The painting posted here is one of those crazy onesthat materialized out thin air and found creation. After it was completed, I searched for a long time for a title. Until my gaze landed on the butterfly on her behind, and everything fell into place. It was just a dream.

senju shunga the butterfly's dream


senju shunga the butterfly's dream detail with butterfly on ass


senju shunga Boshoku (twilight scene)

Fig.24. 36 Views Of Mount Fuji no.24, Boshoku (twilight scene) (May 2023)

senju shunga Boshoku (twilight scene) detail


More info on the artist's thoughts on this series can be found in his gallery.

Click HERE for our conversation with the artist in 2018, and here for the 2020-interview.

What do you think about Senju Shunga ode to Hokusai's Fuji series? Leave your reaction in the comment box below...!!!

About the author
Matti "Horimatsu" Sandberg (1968), better known as Senju Shunga, is a painter (specialized in shunga), former tattoo artist, and writer from Sweden.


on 08 Mar 2023

Very delicate and arousing, A daring homage to Hokusai. I would love to buy an album, if it will be printed in the future.

Marijn Kruijff

Marijn Kruijff

on 08 Mar 2023

Thanks Sharon, we'll keep you updated on a future release.

Derek Dey

Derek Dey

on 08 Mar 2023

Some gorgeous works defined by the union of the Lingam and Yoni. This theme comes up in most cultures and in the Ukiyo-e period but the eroticism is only outperformed by the actual beauty of sheer penetration.



on 26 Apr 2023

Nice! Very nice! Beautiful work. What's the plan, Senju? Will these sell individually? Be collected in album format? Deluxe clamshell box with lose leaf prints? All of these? I'd be interested and I'd live to see these as lose leafs in a clamshell box.

Marijn Kruijff

Marijn Kruijff

on 27 Apr 2023

Thanks JB, I'll forward your question to Senju.

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