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Panel 6 | 3:00-5:00 | ROOM C

3:00-5:00  ~ Panel 6 ~ ROOM C

6 - Edo book culture, Hintz Alumni Center

"Shunpon: sex and humour in the rewritings of the early Edo period literature,” Maria L. Bugno, University of Cambridge

  • In my paper my aim is to outline the close relationship between text and pictures in shunpon. In spite of their considerable production, until recently shunpon have been seldom if ever the object of academic study, and this is particularly true for the texts of these works. Primarily, academic focus has been on the pictures contained in shunpon. Moreover the few studies dedicated to texts of shunpon view shunpon as mere tools to arouse sexual excitement, or as works with a strong satirical or political intention.

    When dealing with the diverse nature of printed sexually explicit works in Japan’s Edo period, the close relationship between written text and corresponding images should not be overlooked. Since I believe shunpon is mostly humorous or educational, rather than satirical or pornographic, in order to understand the true character of shunpon I believe it is important to look at how the images and the text fit with each other as two parts which together create a whole.

    In light of this, my research is aimed at the understudied texts contained in shunpon and focuses primarily on shunpon which rely heavily on prose rather than images and, among these, on shunpon based on other literary works not necessarily sexually explicit by nature. These works have been rewritten to incorporate more sexually explicit content.

    My paper aims at demonstrating that shunpon mainly had a humorous and educational nature by looking at illustrated printed works that rewrite previous literary works. Particularly, I will introduce three case-studies: Meijo nasake kurabe (1681) and its rewritings Genji on iro asobi (1681) and Kōshoku name makura (1686); Makura no sōshi and the shunpon rewriting Ukiyo itoguchi (1795) (both humorous) and the sexual manual Kōshoku otogibōko (1695) and the previous texts Kōshoku tabi makura (1684-88) and Kōshoku Kinmōzui(1686).

"Traversing a World of Moonlight and Blossoms: Tagami Kikusha's Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô Haiga (Haikai paintings),” Cheryl Crowley, Emory University

  • Tagami Kikusha (1753-1826) an early modern literata, spent thirty-three years of her life as a traveler. Widowed at the age of twenty-four, she devoted the remainder of her life to the arts, with haikai at the center. Her journeys took her over the length and breadth of Japan; she sometimes traveled same routes followed by Matsuo Bashô; at other times she forged new paths to meet and collaborate with the most prominent poets, tea practitioners, artists, and musicians of her day. She wrote kanshi as well as haikai, practiced painting, tea ceremony, and koto. She chronicled her lifetime on the road in the haibun Taorigiku (Hand-picked chrysanthemums) a four-volume journal weaving together haiku, renku fragments, prose, poetry in Chinese, and paintings that was published in 1812.

    My paper considers Taorigiku's second volume, a collection of haiga (haikai paintings) with which Kikusha portrays the famous fifty-three stations of the Tôkaidô, through which she passed on her second journey home from Edo to Yamaguchi in 1794. Like all haiga, they combine text and image, each of which are incomplete without the other. I will discuss key examples of this series, and explore the ways that they resonate with the rest of Kikusha's diverse work.

"Setting the scene: the significance of visual elements in the [melo-]drama of ninjōbon,” Stephen Forrest, University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Over the more than six decades of its growth and decline, the type of popular fiction known as ninjōbon 人情本 relied on a wealth of visual elements to enrich its aurally-oriented textual mode. Unlike the more completely visual-verbal genres such as kibyōshi 黄表紙 and gōkan 合巻, ninjōbon followed kokkeibon 滑稽本 and sharebon 洒 落本 in presenting the reader with pages that were mostly dialogue, very like a play script (complete with occasional stage directions and sound effects). Yet as was typical for virtually all popular printed forms in Japan before the twentieth century, script alone was deemed incomplete: readers expected several full-page opening images (kuchi-e 口絵) before the text began, as well as regular full- or half-page images distributed throughout the story (sashi-e 挿絵). These were generally also supplemented by illustrated covers, with further decorative elements such calligraphed prefaces, poems, and floral backgrounds or motifs, many of which were printed in one or more colors.

    Yet from the Shōwa era until the present day, reprints and scholarly editions have tended to give short shrift to anything but the words of a ninjōbon text. Using examples from each decade of textual production, as well reprints from the Meiji era onwards, in this paper I consider the evidence for reader expectations over time and make the case for a complete reintegration of the relatively neglected visual aspects of ninjōbon. Considering especially the role that images played in the marketing of a work and the importance of visual elements in orienting readerly reception, I argue that the increasingly easy access to full-color digital facsimiles should relegate other editions to secondary significance and prompt a reevaluation of ninjōbon as the multimedia art form it must have been in its day.