Kobayashi Asahina's Comical Sensuality As Seen By Kuniyoshi
17 maart 2019 
5 min. read

Kobayashi Asahina's Comical Sensuality As Seen By Kuniyoshi

Kobayashi Asahina (aka. Asahina Yoshihide or Asahina Saburo) was a mythical warrior of the Kamakura period (late 12th to early 13th century) known for his great tenacity and boldness. His mother was the famous Tomoe Gozen, a late twelfth-century female samurai warrior (onna-bugeisha).

kobayashi asahina

The Actor Asahina Travelling Through Strange Countries‘ (c.1830/40) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi


Asahina’s feats include a descent to Hades, as well as assisting the Soga brothers in their vendetta. Although he was a popular subject in Japanese art and literature, scholars and historians are not sure whether he really existed.

kobayashi asahina

Asahina fighting off two crocodiles on the sea-shoreYori-iye from a rock. (Kamakura Shogun Yori-iye-kyo Kotsubo-no-hama ni ryosen)‘ (early 1849) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Monkey Makeup

Asahina was also one of the favorite topics of the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi, whose triptychs he often adorned (see images above). In the erotic prints below Kuniyoshi portrays him in a humorous manner, more as a clownish kabuki character, with flared sideburns and bizarre make-up called saruguma (‘monkey makeup’).

Asahina Kobayashi

An incompetent Asahina is encouraged by his partner‘ (c.1830) from the series ‘Shima asobi‘’ by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)

Impotent Asahina

An impotent Asahina is seduced by a lascivious woman. She is massaging his flaccid penis using her left foot while grabbing his arm. In contrast an older foreign (probably Siam or Indian) couple is passionately making love in the background.

Asahina Kobayashi

Close up of Asahina

Asahina Kobayashi

Amused Asahina and young boy‘ (c.1830)

Daruma’s Nose

To the amusement of Asahina a young foreign (probably Indian) boy sticks his erect penis through a folding-screen depicting Daruma. Daruma’s nose now has been replaced by the young man’s private parts. Asahina wears a beautiful kimono patterned with a circular crane motif and branches.

Asahina Kobayashi

Asahina is entertaining himself with four female beauties‘ (c.1830)

Four Women

Kobayashi Asahina involved in a liaison with four women. This design has also inspired later pupils of Kuniyoshi.

Kobayashi Asahina

Asahina viewing wild party‘ (c.1830)

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About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more than 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.
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