Nanshoku - homosexuality


nanshoku、danshoku 男色 homosexuality

Inspired by an article in - ORIENTATIONS, March 2013 -

CLICK for mpre photos !

iroko 色子 young kabuki actors
kagema 陰間 "the shadow quarters"
kagema chaya 陰間茶屋 "tea house with "shadow boys", see below

The mention of "fireflies" in the haikai times of Basho also referred to the "hot buttocks" of the young men and their love-life.
. Basho and the - hotaru 蛍 firefly, fireflies - .


Records of men who have sex with men in Japan date back to ancient times. Western scholars have identified these as evidence of homosexuality in Japan.

There were few laws restricting sexual behavior in Japan before the early modern period. Anal sodomy was restricted by legal prohibition in 1873, but the provision was repealed only seven years later by the Penal Code of 1880 in accordance with the Napoleonic Code.

Wakashu - Nishikawa Sukenobu, ca. 1716–1735.

Historical practices identified by scholars as homosexual include
shudō (衆道), wakashudō (若衆道) and nanshoku (男色).

Modern terms for homosexuals include dōsei aisha (同性愛者, literally same-sex-love person), gei (ゲイ, gay), homo (ホモ), homosekusharu (ホモセクシャル, homosexual), rezu (レズ, les), and rezubian (レズビアン, lesbian).
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Honolulu Museum of Art

A Modern Wakashu Prostitute

Yanagawa Shigenobu, 1716
source : commons.wikimedia.org


Three Scenes of Couples Under a Single Umbrella

Torii Kiyohiro
source : honolulumuseum.org/art


Scenes of Common Pleasure

source : commons.wikimedia.org


The Ashiwake Boat of Male Love - Nanshoku ashiwake bune
Nishizawa Ippu , 1665 - 1731


The publics sexualized perception of wakashū actors on the Kabuki stage led to the publication and popularization of illustrated actor reviews that praised wakashū in terms that often overlooked their professional acting skills. It is in the light of the restrained, sublimated eroticism of such actor reviews that The Ashiwake Boat of Male Love derives its power. Ashiwake usually refers to a marsh boat, a vessel that is designed to navigate effectively between the densely overgrown reeds that obstruct a waterway. However, since the topic that Ippū wished to illuminate was sexual in nature, he inserts into the title a ribald pun by substituting the third Chinese character, reeds, with one of its homophones, legs.
source : art.honolulumuseum.org/emuseum


Erotic Book: Taiheiki Makurabon taiheiki, vol. 5 of 5

Nishikawa Sukenobu, 1671 - 1750

source : art.honolulumuseum.org/emuseum


Young Man With a Flower Cart

Ishikawa Toyonobu - Woodblock print with three colors
source : honolulumuseum.org


The beauty of ‘man’-kind
by Yoko Haruhara

While the ukiyo-e woodblock prints depicting beautiful young Japanese women of the Edo Period (1603-1867) are world-renowned, an equally worthy genre and common theme tends to get overlooked: that of handsome men. The imaginative exhibition “Handsome Boys and Good-looking Men of Edo,” currently on show at the Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art, brings to light the celebration of the male figure by great Edo Period woodblock print artists.

The exhibition reveals an urban popular culture that flourished with a focus on form and beauty. The Edoite’s attention to beauty extended to handsome, rakish young men in the street as well as to famous kabuki actors, the celebrities of the time who were worshipped by the public for their amazing transformations into beautiful young women in kabuki performances.

Dashing male figures, along with their female counterparts, captured the styles of the time. The keen eyes of artists were drawn to men from many walks of life, including page boys, fire fighters and palanquin bearers.

Iki, the practice translated roughly into English as “cutting-edge taste and innovation,” was the passion of the day. Fearful of rebellion from the populace, the shogunate clamped down on public freedom, issuing a series of sumptuary laws from the early 1600s through the Edo Period. Those laws forbade townspeople from engaging in acts of conspicuous consumption, including wearing luxurious garments and displaying tattoos. But the restrictions ironically contributed to a flourishing of commoner culture, as people became increasingly bold in circumventing the laws.

The sudden fervor for tattoos — sparked in part by the acclaim of an 1827 series of prints by the woodblock artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) that depicted courageous warriors covered in fanciful multi-colored tattoos — is a prime example of the Edoites’ pursuit of iki. In fact, Kuniyoshi’s work started the popular movement of portraying pictorial scenes, which can be considered as the birth of tattooing as we know it in Japan today. The pictorial tattoos became so wildly popular that Kuniyoshi and his disciples moonlighted to provide the tattoo parlors of the time with new designs.

source : www.japantimes.co.jp

source : japaneseprints-london.com

Utagawa KUNISADA (1786-1865)


Yamashita Kinsaku II 山下金作 - Nakamura Handayû

1733 - 1749: born in Ôsaka.
He starts his career as a disciple of the onnagata actor Nakamura Tomijûrô I, who gives him the name of Nakamura Handayû.

Yamashita Kinsaku II was an outstanding onnagata actor, who won fame for himself in both Edo and Kamigata during the second half of the eighteenth century.
The role of Yaoya Oshichi was his forte.
八百屋お七 O-Shichi started a great fire in the Edo period.

source : www.kabuki21.com

. onnagata 女形 female Kabuki actors .


book by Hanasaki Kazuo 花咲一男 (1916 - 2010)

kagema chaya 陰間茶屋 "tea house with boys in waiting"
Kagema-Chaya. tea shops with special service

Kabuki apprentices (kagema) of the famous Kabuki theaters of Nakamuraza 中村座 and Ichimuraza 市村座 spent their time here as hosts to male clients, especially priests who should not be around women.

source : rnavi.ndl.go.jp/kaleido / National Diet Library.

jigami uri 地紙売り kagema boys selling paper for fans and talking about kabuki

Kitagawa Utamaro (1754-1806)

A seller of fan-papers ( jigami-uri ) and a young beauty from an untitled series of eight prints published c1797 by Tsuruya Kiemon. The idealised itinerant merchant has black fan-shaped lacquer boxes perched on his shoulder. In his hand he holds a fan with an image of Daruma eyeing the couple.

地紙うり 芝のやしきで くどかれる
jigami uri shibai no yashiki de kudokareru

the fan paper vendor
is being solicited
at the theater house

. chin shoobai 珍商売 strange business and senryu in Edo .

under construction

- - - - - H A I K U - - - - -

Written at Keishi's house 畦止 on the topic
"Accompanying a lovely boy in the moonlight"

tsuki sumu ya kitsune kowagaru chigo no tomo

the moon is clear--
I escort a lovely boy
frightened by a fox

Tr. Ueda

Ueda says, in a note:
"Basho himself, recalling his youth, once wrote:
'There was a time when I was fascinated with the ways of homosexual love.' "

Written in 1694 元禄7年9月28日, Basho age 51.

Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉
. WKD : chigo 稚児 temple acolytes .

. WKD : koboozu 小坊主 young boy, young monk .

samukeredo futari neru yoru zo tanomoshiki

- - - - - Matsuo Basho and his young friend
. - Tsuboi Tokoku 坪井杜国 - .   


kindachi ni kitsune baketari yoi no haru

Meeting young gentlemen, I feel
A fox has bewitched me,
One evening in Spring.

Tr. Thomas McAuley

. WKD : Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


shunga 春画 erotic scenes, "spring paintings"

. Shunga Daruma 春画だるま .

oiran 花魁 were high-class courtesans in Japan.

. Daruma and the Courtesans .


Tales of Idolized Boys: Male-Male Love in Medieval Japanese Buddhist Narratives
Sachi Schmidt-Hori
University of Hawaii Press, 2021


- Heian Period -

haishi 背子 - light robe with short sleeves worn by a woman.
It was introduced from China.

seko 背子 "child on my back"
An expression for a friendship between men.

waga seko 我が背子 my love's robes



- #nanshoku #homosexuality #love -


Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

anibun no kado to mukiau yozamu kana

cold night --
he stands facing
the older man's door

Tr. Chris Drake

The word ani-bun was not used by siblings. It literally means "surrogate older brother; a man who plays the role (bun) of one's older brother," and in Issa's time it referred primarily to the older man in a same-sex male relationship in which one man was older than the other. In Issa's time same-sex relationships were common and not illegal, and even shoguns and daimyo lords openly had affairs with male pages and advisors. Generally, male love was suppressed only among the samurai and only in cases in which a relationship disrupted the semi-feudalistic chain of command in a particular castle or domain. Among the other classes, including Buddhist monks and Shinto priests, there was no moral or legal stigma attached to same-sex love. The word ani-bun also meant brother-in-law and could be used by younger males to address older males in an organization or tightly structured group.

comment by Chris Drake


Gabi Greve said...

iki いき / イキ / 粋 / 意気 the CHIC of Edo
The Structure of "Iki" 「いき」の構造, "Iki" no kōzō
Shūzō Kuki 九鬼 周造 Kuki Shūzō, Kuki Shuzo,
(February 15, 1888 – May 6, 1941)
Edokko (江戸っ子, literally "child of Edo")

Gabi Greve said...

Database on 春色梅暦 (Shunshoku Ume Goyomi). 巻之1-12 / 狂訓亭主人 作 ; Artist Designer: 柳川重信 画 ヤナガワ, シゲノブ, 1787-1832,
Yanagawa Shigenobu; Author: 為永 春水, タメナガ, シュンスイ, 1790-1843, Tamenaga Shunsui; from Waseda University


Gabi Greve said...

Joshua S. Mostow and Asato Ikeda, with the assistance of Ryoko Matsuba, A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Edo-Period Prints and Paintings (1600–1868)
in conjunction with the exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum.

: http://www.brill.com/products/book/third-gender-beautiful-youth-japanese-edo-period-prints-1600-1868

Gender relations were complex in Edo-period Japan (1603–1868). Wakashu, male youths, were desired by men and women, constituting a “third gender” with their androgynous appearance and variable sexuality. For the first time outside Japan, A Third Gender examines the fascination with wakashu in Edo-period culture and their visual representation in art, demonstrating how they destabilize the conventionally held model of gender binarism.

Gabi Greve said...

August Kyoto Asian Studies Group Meeting
Michael Toole, who will present
“Creative Reproductions: Male Pregnancy in Edo-Period Illustrated Fiction”

In Edo Japan, “playful literature” (gesaku), often found the inspiration for its works in the strangest of places. One of the most widely-read genres within Edo “playful literature” were the “yellow covers” (kibyōshi), a woodblock-printed booklet composed of one to three volumes, with black-and-white images throughout, small enough to fit in one’s hands. Sometimes called the world’s first comicbook for adults, the kibyōshi catered to a wide-range of readers. The stories in kibyōshi often poked fun at Neo-Confucian ideologies espoused by the government, economic policies, and the fads and trends of period popular culture.

Scholars of gender and sexuality have posited that cultural representations of abnormal or perverse sexualities and genders have the potential to subvert common understandings of power and knowledge. Expanding on this scholarship, in this presentation I shall introduce and analyze the trope of male pregnancy in the 1804 kibyōshi, “Ten Months in the Womb of the Author” (Sakusha tainai totsuki no zu) by Santō Kyōden (1761-1816). The story features an author out of ideas desperately praying to Jizō for the seed of a story. The reader follows the author through the ten months of pregnancy until the ink and paper birth of his work. Although kibyōshi published after the Kansei Reforms (1787-1793) have been characterized as losing their satiric bite, this work elicits two questions that will drive my analysis: How is male pregnancy depicted in this work? What is the relationship between male pregnancy and Neo-Confucian norms of sexual reproduction?
[PMJS] Kyoto Asian Studies Group

Gabi Greve said...

“Gender and Japanese History” - exhibition December 2020
Countless historical phenomena formed and disappeared over the course of time, but only some have been written down. We call the former “reki” and the latter “shi.” Despite women’s indisputable existence as “reki” in the long history of the Japanese archipelago, they rarely appear in “shi.” Nonetheless, researchers of women’s history raised the following fresh questions through their efforts to bring female figures to light. “Why did we come to differentiate male from female?” “How did people in the past navigate through such gender divisions?” With the use of more than 280 sources including important cultural properties and UNESCO “memory of the world” items, this historical exhibition explores what gender meant and how it transformed within the long history of Japanese society.
... focusing on the sex trade from medieval to postwar times,...
Along with Takahashi Yuichi’s painting 《Oiran》designated as an important cultural property, we will exhibit a prostitute’s diary and hand-written letters by by Koina and Matsugae, popular prostitutes of the Inamoto Brothel in the New Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. Wardrobes, tools, letters, and diaries—These items tell us about the livelihood of prostitutes and their male customers. This exhibition is groundbreaking in the way it reveals the suppression structure over the sex trade through an examination of social characteristics. ...
- source :rekihaku national museum -