Yanagawa Shigenobu I 初代柳川重信 (1787–1832)
Nanshoku (Male Love)
From the series Storm of the Willow (Yanagi no arashi)
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), c. 1832
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

As can be seen in other works by the artist displayed elsewhere in this gallery, Shigenobu I (1787–1832) was known for his grotesque depictions of sexuality. Nevertheless, this particularly crude portrayal of the wakashū actor Sawamura Sōjūrō III (1753–1801) being seduced by an adult male admirer is probably representative of the general public’s increasingly critical view of intergenerational sex.

For other, more flattering depictions of Sawamura Sōjūrō III, see Sawamura Sōjūrō III as Yuranosuke in Act 7 of Kanadehon Chūshingura (c. 1802) and The Great Brocade Addressee (Ōnishiki ategaki, c. 1780s–1820s), both by Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769–1825) and on display elsewhere in this exhibition.

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