Weighing the Goods of Love (Enshoku shinasadame) 艶色品定女

Utagawa Kunimori II 二代歌川国盛画 Japanese

Not on view

A Fraudulent Murasaki’s Rustic Genji was a best seller of its day and engendered a boom in the popularity of woodblock prints on the subject. Less well known is that Rustic Genji also triggered a flood of erotic illustrated books (shunpon).

Shown here is one of the most outrageous erotic versions of The Tale of Genji by Utagawa Kunisada’s pupil Utagawa Kunimori, with text by author and print artist Miyagi Gengyo (1817–1880), who signs himself Inraku Sanjin 婬楽山人, “Gentleman of Bawdy Pleasures.” The punning title refers to the “judgments on women” (shina sadame) episode in Chapter 2, “Broom Cypress,” of the original Genji. The phrase enshoku suggests that not only are their personal virtues being judged but so too are their sensual qualities.

Weighing the Goods of Love (Enshoku shinasadame)  艶色品定女, Utagawa Kunimori II 二代歌川国盛画 (Japanese, active 1830–1861), Set of three woodblock-printed books (hanshibon); ink and color on paper, Japan

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