Kyoto Journal Issue 18



Sex in Senryu Poetry
Donald Richie on the Festive Gods
Gender Bending on Stage
Araki Nobuyoshi’s A’s Nude/The Genius & The Professor
Akasegawa Genpei on Throwaway Eros

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Official Japan ignores senryu. Its poetic sister, haiku, is high on the list of cultural exportables, up there with the tea ceremony and flower arranging. Haiku says, “We Japanese have a transcendent side; we love nature, and we love haiku with its seasonal references.” Which the senryu poet would counter with, “You don’t mean bugs and dirt and slime, but a kind of designer’s nature,” and he’d say it witheringly in seventeen sardonic syllables.
— Ronald V. Bell, Sex in Senryu

I was stunned when I first came across Yanagida Kunio’s essay “The Rise and Decline of Techniques of Love,” in his History of Social Conditions in Meiji and Taisho. What surprised me was his clarity of thought in considering love a technique. Technique, gijutsu, can also be rendered into English as technology. So my own experiment with the phrase “love technology” is an attempt to pick up where Yanagida left off in the social history of Japan, and to sketch the transformations love customs have undergone since the 1920s.
— Ueno Chizuko, The Technology of Love

In Japan as elsewhere, erotic literature has generally portrayed female desire as subordinate to male pleasure. For this reason its focus often shifts quickly from the romance of bodily functions to the romance of power — leading to the degradation of woman by man through the sexual act. (Japanese pornography especially loves the rapist.) The repressive social attitudes behind this have fostered the denial of normal female sexuality, both by women seeking to protect their dignity and health, and by men wishing to make women their exclusive sexual territory.— Taniyama Sawako & Alex Shishin, Through New Women’s Eyes


The Festive Gods – Donald Richie
Eros in Edo – Tanaka Yuko
Hierarchy of Lust – Ivan Morris
Sex in Senryu – Ronald V. Bell
The Technology of Love – Ueno Chizuko
A’s Nude / The Genius And The Professor – Araki Nobuyoshi meets Tanaka Yuko
Topaz– Murakami Ryu
Gender-Bending on Stage – Jonah Salz
The Four Seasons – Takahashi Mutsuo, drawings by Maruo Suehiro
Through New Women’s Eyes – Taniyama Sawako and Alex Shishin
Throwaway Eros – Akasegawa Gempei
Octopi and the Maiden– Hokusai
Wham! Bam! In Japan!– Ronald V. Bell
How a Fox Was Taken to Wife – Keikai, trans. D.L. Philippi
Even the King of the Ginza Must Sometimes Sleep – Poem by Ira Cohen
Sheena the Jungle Woman – Poem by Robert Brady
Tantra of Terra Erotica – W. David Kubiak
The Tao of Loving– Nathan Lash
Tessai’s Life Force– Herbert Sax
Pink Samurai: The Pursuit and Politics of Sex in Japan, by Nicholas Bornoff — Jonah Salz

Cover Image by Takeda Yoshifumi
published July 30, 1991


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