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Publication of ‘Fisherman’s Wife’ erotic print leads to suspension of editor

Shukan Bunshun Oct. 8
Shukan Bunshun Oct. 8
TOKYO (TR) – The publisher of a weekly magazine has suspended an editor from duty over the publication of erotic images dating back centuries, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 11).

On October 8, Bungeisha, the publisher of Shukan Bunshun, announced that Manabu Shintani will take a three-month leave of absence after the magazine published three shunga, or erotic woodblock prints, in an issue that hit newsstands one week before.

“There was a lack of consideration within the editing, and, in our judgment, we have betrayed the trust of readers,” reads a statement from the public relations department of the publisher. “Future editing will better take into consideration the viewpoint of the readers of Shukan Bunshun.”

The production of shunga works reached its peak during the Edo Period (1603-1867). While similar in artistic style to ukiyo-e works, which often show courtesans and natural scenes, shunga pieces are highly explicit, typically featuring couples engaged in various sexual positions.

The pieces published by Shukan Bunshun were as a part of an introduction to a shunga exhibit now underway at the Eisei Bunko Museum in Bunkyo Ward.

One piece published by the magazine was Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife,” which depicts a woman being sexually pleasured by an octopus. The other two works were by artists Kitagawa Utamaro and Utagawa Kunisada.

'The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife'
‘The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife’ by Hokusai