(BLSB) - A Reversal of Conventional Pederastic Pursuit in a Chapter of 'The Life of an Amorous Man' by Ihara Saikaku

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File:Nishikawa Sukenobu -Boy plucking out the facial hair of man with a pair of tweezers is kissed by him (left panel). Part of a two-page Japanese woodblock-printed illustration from Nanshoku Yamaji no Tsuyu by Nankai no Sanjin, early 18th century.png
Boy plucking out the facial hair of man with a pair of tweezers is kissed by him (left panel). Part of a two-page Japanese woodblock-printed illustration by Nishikawa Sukenobu, from Nanshoku Dew on a Mountain Path (男色山路露 Nanshoku Yamaji no Tsuyu, Early 18th Century) by Nankai no Sanjin.


From "Samurai Lovers, 'Samurai Beasts': Warriors and Commoners in Ihara Saikaku's Way of the Warrior Tales", in Japanese Studies, Vol. 35, No. 2 (September 2015). Footnotes omitted.

Note: Saikaku's novel was written at a time when Japan followed the East Asian age reckoning, by which a person is considered to be one year old at birth, with age being incremented at the beginning of the lunar or solar year.[1]

In a chapter missing from the abridged Kengi Hamada translation of Amorous Man (1963), at the tender age of ten the fantastically precocious Yonosuke reverses the reigning protocol of erotic pursuit by seducing an adult male into becoming his nenja. In a chapter set two decades later, the narrator reveals that Yonosuke’s erstwhile lover is a samurai, and the two tearfully reunite as the closest of friends, well after Yonosuke’s attainment of adulthood has rendered the sexual side of their relationship obsolete.


Homoerotic scene: A nenja embraces a wakashū from behind while penetrating him (right panel). Part of a two-page shunga woodblock-printed illustration attributed to Okumura Masanobu, ca. 1750.

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