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

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Boy plucking out the facial hair of man with a pair of tweezers is kissed by him in front of a mirror (left panel). Part of a double-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" by David Gundry, 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 people are born at the age of one, i.e. the first year of lifetime using an ordinal numeral (instead of "zero" using a cardinal numeral), and on Chinese New Year or New Year's Day one year is added to their age. Since age is incremented at the beginning of the lunar or solar year, rather than on the anniversary of a birthday, people may be one or two years older in Asian reckoning than in the international age system.[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 double-page shunga woodblock-printed illustration attributed to Okumura Masanobu, ca. 1750.


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