LGBT in Japan - Ancient Japan - Art of Same-sex Love

Art of Same-sex Love

These activities were the subject of countless literary works, most of which remain to be translated. However, English translations are available for Ihara Saikaku who created a bisexual main character in The Life of An Amorous Man (1682), Jippensha Ikku who created an initial gay relationship in the post-publication "Preface" to Shank's Mare (1802 et seq), and Ueda Akinari who had a homosexual Buddhist monk in Tales of Moonlight and Rain (1776). Likewise, many of the greatest artists of the period, such as Hokusai and Hiroshige, prided themselves in documenting such loves in their prints, known as ukiyo-e, pictures of the floating world, and where they had an erotic tone, shunga, or pictures of spring.

Nanshoku was not considered incompatible with heterosexuality; books of erotic prints dedicated to nanshoku often presented erotic images of both young women (concubines, mekake, or prostitutes, jōrō) as well as attractive adolescent boys (wakashū) and cross-dressing youths (onnagata). Indeed, several works suggest that the most "envious" situation would be to have both many jōrō and many wakashū. Likewise, women were considered to be particularly attracted to both wakashū and onnagata, and it was assumed that these young men would reciprocate that interest. Therefore, both the typical practitioners of nanshoku and the young men they desired would be considered bisexual in modern terminology. Men who were purely homosexual might be called "woman-haters" (onna-girai); this term, however, carried the connotation of aggressive distaste of women in all social contexts, rather than simply a preference for male sexual partners.

Read more about this topic:  LGBT In Japan, Ancient Japan

Famous quotes containing the words art of, love and/or art:

    The chief element in the art of statesmanship under modern conditions is the ability to elucidate the confused and clamorous interests which converge upon the seat of government. It is an ability to penetrate from the naïve self-interest of each group to its permanent and real interest.... Statesmanship ... consists in giving the people not what they want but what they will learn to want.
    Walter Lippmann (1889–1974)

    Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is to love them as God does.
    Simone Weil (1909–1943)

    Since art is the expression of beauty and beauty can be understood only in the form of the material elements of the true idea it contains, art has become almost uniquely feminine. Beauty is woman, and also art is woman.
    Rémy De Gourmont (1858–1915)