Ishikawa Toyonobu 石川豊信 (1711-1785)
Princess Komatsu and the Green Grass of Love
(Himekomatsu koi no wakakusa 姫小松恋の若草)

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), c. 1748
Woodblock-printed book; ink on paper with hand-coloring
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

Princess Komatsu (1573-1620) was the adopted child of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), leader of the clans of Eastern Japan who eventually founded a feudal regime to control the entire country throughout the Edo period (1615-1868). Before this unification occurred, however, Ieyasu’s primary rival for political power was Sanada Masayuki (1544-1611) of Shinano province (present-day Nagano Prefecture).

In an attempt to ease this conflict, Ieyasu arranged from Komatsu to marry Sanada’s son, but as tensions between Ieyasu and Sanada inevitably reached a boiling point, Princess Komatsu found herself hopelessly trying to mollify both parties, her allegiance torn between her father and her father-in-law. As with many ribald satires, Princess Komatsu and the Green Grass of Love dispenses with the intricacies of this political history and re-imagines Komatsu’s attempts at diplomacy as a variety of erotic encounters.

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