Shunga or pornographic wood-block pictures were printed with all imaginable situations. These often took the form of a book with sentences to describe verbal utterances of the partners, as well as to offer brief descriptions of a scene. Near the end of the Edo period when foreigners became widely known and seen, even sex acts with foreign males were drawn and sold, not to mention acts with animals, demons (both male (incubus) and female (succubus), and deities. The actual uses of shunga in the period are still debated, but probably resembled modern uses of pornographic materials, including masturbation and shared viewing with a lover.
After the Meiji Restoration in the second half of the 19th century, the publication of pornographic materials declined under government pressure. Yet even as Shunga production slowed, shunga were being exported and peddled as "erotic arts" to foreign markets. Pornographic novels were still produced underground, though the language barrier prevented them from becoming widely known abroad. Pornographic arts (now including photography) were still produced, but these came to be viewed as low arts.
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