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9 October 2017 

Shunga Depicting Sex Underneath an Umbrella

It has been claimed that the traditional Japanese umbrella, made of slender bamboo and rice paper and easily breakable, could, when held by a man, symbolize the small size or weakness of his organ. However, there is not a single instance in our collection of a man holding an umbrella who appears particularly feeble.

Fig.1. ‘Young couple under an umbrella in the rain‘ (c.1843) from the series ‘Haru no neya otogi-bunko‘ by Koikawa Shozan


While some men who are shown spying on others and masturbating do hold an umbrella (Fig.2.), a possible indication of weakness, there are equally other men who are masturbating, but without umbrellas.

sex umbrella

Fig.2. ‘Masturbating man underneath an umbrella‘ (c.1825) from the series ‘Hyakki yagyo (Night Procession of One Hundred Demons)‘ by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)

Click the following linksĀ for more shunga designs by Kunisada and Shozan!

Source: ‘Japanese Erotic Art: The Hidden World of Shunga‘ by Ofer Shagan

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