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
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
Cover Image by Takeda Yoshifumi
published July 30, 1991
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