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Shunga anthology hits shelves

Encyclopedia of Japanese Erotic Art
‘Encyclopedia of Japanese Erotic Art’
TOKYO (TR) – Shunga is a form of erotic woodblock-print art popularized in the Edo Period (1603-1868). For a glimpse at these works, publisher Heibonsha last month released Ofer Shagan’s “Encyclopedia of Japanese Erotic Art,” reports Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 23).

While similar in artistic style to ukiyo-e works that feature courtesans and natural scenes, shunga pieces, however, portray couples of the day engaged in various sexual positions — the interest for which today is held by men in their 50s and ladies in their 20s, says the author, whose collection includes 4,000 prints.

As back in the Edo days, the appeal of the works is in part for reference value and the humor of the absurdity of some of the amorous activities — both of which has resulted in something of a modern boom, says Shagan.

In 2013, Shagan plans to display his works at the British Museum in London. The 205-page “Encyclopedia of Erotic Art” retails for 3,360 yen.