Nine double-page, one single-page, & several woodcut illus. in the text, all color-printed, and a number of black & white woodcuts throughout the text. One preliminary leaf pasted-down on the inside upper wrapper, 19 folding leaves, one leaf of ads at end pasted-down on the inside lower wrapper. Small 8vo, orig. wrappers decorated with the characters for “Kiraku” in hiragana, orig. block-printed title labels on upper cover, new stitching. “Ukiyo”: Kirakudo, [late Edo].
First edition of this playful parody of a serious sex manual, with illustrations by Koikawa (1821-1907), one of the leading shunga artists of the late Edo and early Meiji periods. The Preface was written by Tanekiyo Ryusuitei (1823-1907). The book represents a new kind of shunga book to capture the reader’s imagination. This is a very rare book with no copy in WorldCat.
It is immediately obvious that the book is imitating a textbook because of the label containing the table of contents affixed to the upper cover. Yet, when one reads the table of contents, it is clear that the book is concerned with all aspects of sex for pleasure and entertainment, not for reproductive purposes. The layout of the book is in the oraimono (educational books) format, printed with bold calligraphic columns of text in kanbun style with reading marks, and in between these columns, the same text in hiragana appears, for those who could not understand the scholarly kanbun style.
The fine color-printed double-page and single-page woodcuts show men and women engaged in a wide variety of sexual acts, oftentimes using sex toys. The images are visually very strong but expressed with wit and pleasure. The printers have used saturated colors and some embossing.
The text describes sex for relaxation and laughter, with black & white woodcut illustrations. These illustrations depict ancient Chinese ointments for sexual vitality; women’s “honeypots”; the inevitable secretions caused by sex; a list of newly coined words to describe sexual acts; a wide variety of sex toys including dildos, rings with nubbles to be worn around the penis, ben wa balls, etc.; Noh masks for sexual role play; lyrics for sexy songs; pills for prolonging sexual vitality; calligraphic pictographs with sexual allusions; etc.
❧ Timothy Clark et al., eds., Shunga. Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art (British Museum: 2013), pp. 23, 245, & 287.
Item ID: 7725