Utagawa Toyokuni I 初代歌川豊国 (1769–1825)
The Great Brocade Addressee (Ōnishiki ategaki), vol. 3 of 3
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), c. 1780s–1820s
Woodblock-printed book; ink and color on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

A young Kabuki fan reclines in bed and fixates upon one of Toyokuni’s portraits of Sawamura Sōjūrō III (1753–1801) in the role of Ōboshi Yuranosuke, hero of the Kabuki play The Forty-seven Rōnin (Kanadehon Chūshingura). The woman wears a dildo (harigata or goyō-no-mono) strapped to her left ankle, and as she fantasizes about Sōjūrō III, in a feat of astonishing dexterity, she masturbates by flexing her left knee. Her efforts do not go unrewarded: in addition to climaxing repeatedly, she is able to magically summon the spirit of Sōjūrō III to her bed, and in the following scene, she is able to discard both her dildo and her woodblock print in exchange for Sōjūrō himself.

For a far more grotesque depiction of Sōjūrō III, see Nanshoku (Male Love, c. 1832) by Yanagawa Shigenobu I (1787–1832), on display elsewhere in this exhibition.

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