Below you can find all the color illustrations of a rare ehon (book) series entitled ‘Women for One Night (Karine no yume)‘, issued c.1836. In this series the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi takes us on a journey through the Yoshiwara and shows us this dynamic world including all the complicated interaction between the geisha and their customers.
The series kicks off with a horrific rape scene in a derelict house (or basement). A crucified woman tied to two horizontal poles is molested by a group of hoodlums. Shocking is the evident resistance of the woman before she was overpowered as indicated by the surrounding hair-pins.
A secret encounter in a nebulous marsh between a young geisha and her masked lover.
An entertaining scene with in the foreground a playful client and his chosen “amusement” and dining geisha in the living room in the back. The wealthy client chose well, because as her numerous hair-pins indicate she is an oiran, a prostitute of the highest order.
Again, we are looking at a scene involving an oiran and a rich client in an early exploratory phase of their encounter. He is still busy with his tobacco pipe while she cautiously releases the belt of his kimono.
Gossip in the brothel quarter.
A proud male lover looks at his own intimate activities while the ecstatic geisha grabs his hand in her excitement.
Two intimate lovers seek each other’s company in a sober room. Through the window in the background one can see the roofs of the surrounding buildings.
A humorous design with a geisha jerking off a client. He and his company in the background, are clearly less affluent visitors.
Two courtesans stand on the fogged quay of the Yoshiwara while they wait for their clients who are still in the boat.
A small boat on its way to the Yoshiwara. The driver maneuvers conveniently under the bridge. These small boats were called chokibune (or ‘boar’s tusk boat’ because of its shape), were used to ferry passengers and goods. They were light, swift, single-oared boats, used to take customers along the River Sumida to the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter.
An intimate couple is observed by a man kneeling behind the folding screen (follow-up of this scene in the next image!) in the back. They are surrounded by, among other things, a tobacco pouch, a box with a sex toy and little pot with elixir.
A lot of consternation with an angry man attacking a geisha (his lover) who was making love to the other fleeing man.
An aged geisha is making love to a client who is holding up one of her legs and caressing one of her nipples.
In a cheaper crowded brothel we witness the sensual activities of geisha and their clients.
Another scene depicting various spaces featuring geisha entertaining their clients. In the background a servant is called to order by his boss.
Entertaining atmospheric image of a stairwell and hallway in a brothel. Look for the silhouettes that can be seen through the transparent sliding doors on the right.
Women behind the latticed windows of a brothel with passersby. This picture is a night scene illustrating throngs of people in the Yoshiwara. Interested men could look at women sitting in the latticed parlors and choose someone who appealed to them.
A large fold-out scene with a bird-eye view of the crowded streets in the Yoshiwara. On the left a long row of brothels displaying their “merchandise” observed by excited males and on the right various restaurants and stalls. In the middle of the quarter one can see a giant gateway. An amusing detail are the copulating dogs in the foreground on the left.
The two conclusive scenes of the set offer an amusing closing. The left image shows a grotesque image featuring some kind of magic show with the interaction between a geisha’s vulva and an erected penis in a tub of water. The male crowd looks mesmerized. On the right two copulating cats with the dominating male biting in the ear of its “lover”.
This specific book set was part of the exhibitions at De Kunsthal (in 2006) and at the British Museum (in 2013/14)
Click HERE for more sensual content on Kuniyoshi’s art…!!!