RSS

Tag Archives: Danielle Talerico

Katsushika Hokusai and Nobuyoshi Araki: Who is the more erotic? Part 3 of Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai and Nobuyoshi Araki: Who is the more erotic?  Part 3 of Hokusai

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Katsushika Hokusai was born in 1760 and Nobuyoshi Araki was born in 1940 and today Araki still continues to take photo images. Hokusai is famously known throughout the world for The Great Wave off Kanagawa and his Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. However, Araki is known for his sexual images and the unique erotic styles that he often takes but Araki is much more diverse than this because his work involves many different forms of photography.

Hokusai and Araki were born in different Japan’s but sexual artistic flair can be witnessed by both individuals because sexual images and erotic art forms belong to aspects of their respective work. 

Both individuals were born in Tokyo and while Hokusai is famous for non-erotic forms of art to most lay people the same can’t be said about Araki because Tokyo Lucky Hole is either extremely erotic or pornographic depending on your viewpoint. 

Irrespective if we use the word “erotic” or “pornographic” because people have different sensibilities the fact remains that Araki is extremely gifted and creative.  Like all photographers the artist will either appeal or not appeal. However, Araki is clearly showing a sexual and seedy side of Tokyo which not only exists but is quite prevalent in many main areas in modern day Tokyo.

Their different art forms can’t be compared because both were born in very different societies and technology, thought patterns, environmental differences and countless other factors, means that it is unfair to compare and counterproductive.

However, it is abundantly clear that the “erotic” side of aspects of their work is a uniting factor and both are famous sons of Tokyo. Yet, in the image of most art lovers both clearly have a distinctive connotation and mystery and while the “erotic” and seedy side of Tokyo creates image of Araki in the mind; it is clear that for most people Hokusai is deemed to be “a classical artist” and one of the most famous artists that graced the soil of Japan. 

Indeed the word “artist” and “contemporary artist” is also subjective because while Hokusai will smoothly fit into the word “artist” you will have different opinions towards Araki.  This applies to stating that Araki is a “contemporary artist” but for conservative individuals Araki will be tainted by the word “pornography.” Also, the vagueness of “contemporary artist” means that it is difficult to define in the absolute sense because different thought patterns view the world differently.  

The first time I ever saw work by Araki was in Manchester, England, when I viewed Tokyo Lucky Hole when I was around 19 years old.  My first impression, and coming from a non-artist background at the time, was “wow” and these ladies look “so hot” therefore for myself I viewed this to be pornographic when I was young but I did find it in the art section.

However, the more you view aspects of Araki’s work then it does become abundantly clear that in his field he is extremely talented and not everything is what it seems. 

In my article called “Nobuyoshi Araki shows the cultural side of Tokyo in the flesh” I state that Araki “…goes much further because this famous photographer opens up a Tokyo which is often neglected or not imagined.  He also fuses his photography with the landscape of Tokyo amidst naked bodies or ladies being tied up and his imagery is clearly powerful.”

“Therefore, Nobuyoshi Araki is also focusing on the emptiness of entertainment districts and the sex industry; albeit from an erotic human form and the energy and visual nature of his photography expresses many emotions.”

“Like any artist; people will see different things within his photography and while some people will gain from his works others may reject him on various grounds.  However, if you look deeper into his work then Nobuyoshi Araki is providing a real glimpse into a Tokyo which exists and not only this, he does this by creating a rare energy within simplistic and complex themes.”

Hokusai is in reverse because my first contact with the work of Hokusai was when I viewed The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Fuji in Clear Weather and this was followed by the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Immediately I liked Hokusai because the sheer power of The Great Wave off Kanagawa was striking.  I therefore believed that Hokusai was similar to John Constable (a classical artist from England who was born in 1776) who painted The Hay Wain and Dedham Vale and many other classic paintings.

Yet, many years later I viewed the The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai and other images from Kinoe No Komatsu which is a collection of shunga.  I was shocked because I never understood this side of Hokusai and The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife is not only erotic but it mind boggling because of the perverse nature of what is happening.  

In my article called “Katsushika Hokusai and erotic art: The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (Part 2 of Hokusai)” I comment that “The image shows a lady who was deemed to be a shell diver (ama) with her legs wide apart while the fully grown octopus performs cunnilingus.  She is fully naked and her breasts and hairy pussy are clearly visible and her body is clearly welcoming both the fully grown octopus and the small and younger octopus.”

“The eyes of the fully grown octopus are really striking because while performing cunnilingus on the lady it is clear that the eyes are fully focused on her face and pleasure and satisfaction belong to both.”

“It is suggested that the small octopus may be the son and if so then this makes the sexual experience even more erotic to some or alternatively “on the edge” for others.  Either way, only Hokusai really knows the role of the small octopus but it is clear that the lady is enjoying the power of the fully grown octopus and the magical touch of the younger octopus which is fondling her nipple and mouth.”

“Her face depicts complete sexual bliss and in the image it appears that nature and humans are one and the same.  Yes, visually different; however, enjoying the sexual experience together.”                                                                                  

“The image which is graphic is also based on consent, pleasure, joy, and bliss.”

Other images by Hokusai are also extremely sexual and graphic between people having sex and maybe just like Araki showing the seedy side of modern Tokyo it could be said that Hokusai was also doing the same.  However, the image where a woman is happily spreading her pussy so that she can feel the pleasure of an octopus and clearly feeling orgasmic; then for myself this image is not only mind boggling it is mysterious, perverse, erotic and showing images of pleasure all into one image. 

The scholar Danielle Talerico desires to put this image into the context of the Princess Tamatori story which was well-known in the Edo period. However, Hokusai may have played on this in order to create something else because in the Princess Tamatori story she dies from her wounds.  However, in Hokusai’s work it is clear that sexual pleasure and mutual gratification is taking place and the image does not show fear.

This is getting away from the point of Hokusai and Araki and the question of who is the more erotic.  Of course, people will have different opinions and again time, environment and other factors will make the judgment difficult.

Also, because of the very nature of art and different thought patterns then some may deem Hokusai to be “a master artist” or “a perverted artist” when it came to shunga. The same applies to Araki because to some people his work is “erotic art” but to others it is “pornography” and not artistic. Also, can aspects of pornography be deemed to be artistic?

This minefield does not belong to this article and despite all the sexual images by Araki I believe that Hokusai’s work was more erotic and this applies to many images from his Kinoe No Komatsu collection.  More to the point, the image of The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife is in a different dimension to anything that Araki created.

Obviously both individuals have created their work within themselves and their respective work is not based on competition with anyone.  However, the point is that while Hokusai remains within the fold of “classical artist” it is clear that Araki “is on the edge” and either he is well liked or disregarded. 

Yet, if Araki is disregarded based on his subject matter then clearly the same does not apply to Hokusai.  Both individual have opened up a door to “a hidden Japan” which is “not so hidden” for people who reside in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. 

However, when it comes to erotic images then The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai takes some beating and the power of this image remains today.

 

http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/hokusai/launch.htm   (Hokusai)

http://www.hokusai-kan.com/treasure01.htm  (Hokusai)

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/05/31/katsushika-hokusai-japanese-artist-with-a-rich-legacy-part-one/  

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/06/03/katsushika-hokusai-and-erotic-art-the-dream-of-the-fisherman%e2%80%99s-wife-part-2-of-hokusai/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/04/02/nobuyoshi-araki-shows-the-cultural-side-of-tokyo-in-the-flesh/

http://fantomatik75.blogspot.com/2010/02/les-cordes-nobuyashi-araki.html (images taken from this website when applies to Araki but photos remain within the search engine but problems with modern website)

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Japan

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Katsushika Hokusai and erotic art: The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (Part 2 of Hokusai)

Katsushika Hokusai and erotic art: The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (Part 2 of Hokusai)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Katsushika Hokusai was born in 1760 and died in 1849 and this most splendid of artists created many different art forms and the imagery from the two most striking pieces of his art could not be more different.

Hokusai was a Nichiren Buddhist and just like Nichiren himself; he had a complex nature and he is not easy to pin down or label.  It is true to say that he was always consistent when applied to producing art and even when he was 87 years of age he completed the Ducks in a Stream.

Even on his deathbed it is clear that Hokusai’s love of life and art still shone bright within his soul and heart. 

When Hokusai was close to death he stated “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years…Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter.”

Hokusai had many talents and he learnt the trade from a very early age.  His talents apply to being a sublime Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and a printmaker. 

His Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and love of Nichiren Buddhism shows an individual who was at one with nature and the mysteries of life.  For Hokusai the mountains were a place of mystery and the Shinto gods and the majesty of nature surrounding Mount Fuji; meant that he could use the stunning scenery and fuse this with ideas from a hidden world.

The Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji include the magnificent and powerful masterpiece called The Great Wave off Kanagawa and other potent images which showed the landscape to be truly magical include Fuji in Clear Weather.

If this artwork is viewed in isolation then “the real” Hokusai is missing because while Hokusai connected with nature in all its majesty he also had a different side.  This applies to Hokusai’s erotic art and his images were extremely strong from a mainstream European artist point of view in this period.

This in itself shows you the constraints and freedoms “within many nations in Europe” when it came to mainstream art in this period, when applied to erotica.  However, in Japan erotic images and the view of sexuality was very different and the same applies to homosexuality in this period because Japan was much more liberal when it came to sexuality and many a Edo leader had male concubines.

However, The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife is not only erotica it is a powerful image of female sexuality and joy. This joy and sexuality, however, is by a fully grown octopus and a very young octopus.

The erotic woodcut even shocks today and the imagery is very potent and full of erotica alongside mystery and a world unknown.  This form of art belongs to the ukiyo-e genre and shunga was a powerful force in erotica in Japan during the Edo period because it was a good way to earn money for an aspiring artist. 

The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife is the most striking image from Kinoe no Komatsu which was a collection of shunga and it was published in three volumes from the year 1814.

The image shows a lady who was deemed to be a shell diver (ama) with her legs wide apart while the fully grown octopus performs cunnilingus.  She is fully naked and her breasts and hairy pussy are clearly visible and her body is clearly welcoming both the fully grown octopus and the small and younger octopus.

The eyes of the fully grown octopus are really striking because while performing cunnilingus on the lady it is clear that the eyes are fully focused on her face and pleasure and satisfaction belong to both.

It is suggested that the small octopus may be the son and if so then this makes the sexual experience even more erotic to some or alternatively “on the edge” for others.  Either way, only Hokusai really knows the role of the small octopus but it is clear that the lady is enjoying the power of the fully grown octopus and the magical touch of the younger octopus which is fondling her nipple and mouth.

Her face depicts complete sexual bliss and in the image it appears that nature and humans are one and the same.  Yes, visually different; however, enjoying the sexual experience together.

The image which is graphic is also based on consent, pleasure, joy, and bliss.

The interpretation of what is really happening is very diverse and art specialists and critics have various opinions.

Also, given the imagery of The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife then for some people it is a masterpiece but for others it is depravity and of course you will have a multitude of opinions about this image with was produced in the early nineteenth century by Hokusai.

The scholar Danielle Talerico is trying to put this image within the history of the Edo period because the Princess Tamatori story was very popular in the Edo period.  However, this appears to be over simplistic because in the Tamatori story the outcome is very different and the sea creatures are chasing Tamatori and in the end she dies from her wound.

Hokusai does mention above the image in his work that the octopus will take the lady to Ryujin’s undersea palace but Hokusai could have just adapted his image and played around with this story.  Or, the Ryujin’s undersea world may be a world which was seen differently by Hokusai.

Unlike the negative outcome of Princess Tamatori it is clear that sexual pleasure and mutual gratification is taking place and unless this is part of the original story then the reasons may never be known.

After all, in art you have many images of Jesus but not all images have the same meaning and for some contemporary artists they may be mocking Jesus or seeing Jesus in their own eyes.  It is only natural that artists will borrow from their culture but it does not mean that the images of their art have the same meaning.

Artists in Japan before Hokusai and after Hokusai have shown sexual scenes between females and cephalopods and within the lifetime of Hokusai another artist, Yanagawa Shigenobu, also created an image whereby a lady is being seduced and pleasured by an octopus.

Therefore, the real reason behind The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife can’t be answered with certainty.

The image may have just been a fantasy or showing the learning process of sexual pleasure whereby the small octopus is just watching the master.  Or it could have been Hokusai’s love of nature whereby he fuses love within the reality of shunga but desires to say that humanity and nature are one.

Of course this can easily be rejected but without a clear answer from Hokusai then the mystery will remain.

What is clear is that The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (Other artists have given it a different name) is an image which is very potent and even today this image still shocks.

I personally think it is a masterpiece and that it will always remain a mystery.

In truth, this also adds to the striking image on display and the scene which the viewer can see because you have no clear answer but the power of the image is awesome.

http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/hokusai/launch.htm  (Hokusai)

http://www.hokusai-kan.com/treasure01.htm (Hokusai)

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/05/31/katsushika-hokusai-japanese-artist-with-a-rich-legacy-part-one/

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 

 
 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 3, 2011 in Japan

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,