Kabuki and the realm of pleasure.

Kabuki and the realm of pleasure.

kabuki, sagi musume, heron maiden, heron girl, sayagatta, dildo, shunga, erotica, porn, pornography, female masturbation, pussy, kimono, anal

Kabuki Shunga. “Sagi Musume” or The Heron Maiden is a famous dance performance in Japanese Kabuki theatre. This shunga print is my imagination playing with alternative narrative. Created in January 2017 as a part of an ongoing series inspired by Kabuki plays.

 

Kabuki Shunga is a match made in heaven. To be honest I am surprised at myself for not seriously pursuing this avenue of erotic narrative earlier. Perhaps it was my 16 years as a tattooer of traditional Japanese designs that kept me from seeing the obvious, limiting my perception and sensitivity. Kabuki theatre has always been closely linked to the erotic aspects of the floating world of Edo period japan, beginning with the dance performances of Izumi no Okuni in the early 1600’s and slowly evolving into later centuries all male ensembles with its female impersonators, Onnagata, and all the possibilities and implications that follows in the wake of Kabuki’s colorfulness, bravado and all together almost surreal dramatic costume.

In Edo and its Yoshiwara red light district, with all the carnal temptations and pleasures such a place presented and fulfilled, sex was at its center and Kabuki evolved in the midst of all this. Actors were sometimes available as prostitutes or escorts as well. Dreams and fantasies arising, pursued and satisfied. No wonder my mind appears feverishly delirious at the prospects of diving headlong into Kabuki’s historically sinful depths.

Kabuki theatres were of course not only inspiration for passion, pleasures and sexual desires, but also the birthplaces of a beautifully developed style of drama and dance performances unique in all its splendor and soulfulness. On my first visit to Japan I had the pleasure of visiting the classic Kabuki-za theatre and was forever charmed by the experience, even to the point of subjecting my children at an early age to watch Kabuki on DVD without any subtitles. To my delight they enjoyed the experience and clearly understood plots and characters without much prior knowledge. In the present, as teenagers, they watch completely different things on YouTube, but I hope that they will eventually stumble into some Kabuki once in a while.

For writings on Kabuki and my erotic art please go here. For more on the way my mind works and why I paint Shunga go here

For a quick guide to what Kabuki can be I hope you enjoy this video:

As for myself, I will now enter the Kabuki theatre in a most serious fashion and most likely never leave. Kabuki shunga will be a main them in my art for many years to come.

/ Senju

 

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Erotic art and hiding in plain view.

Erotic art and hiding in plain view.

senju, horimatsu, shunga, erotic, erotica, japanese, japan, umeå, sweden, porn, pornography, anal sex, fucking, bamboo, zen, irezumi, japanese tattoo, bonji

The erotic art of Shunga is full of secrets and hidden meanings. I like to play with the imagination of the viewer. It also gives me satisfaction to hide the obvious in plain view. Like in “Sutra” which I created late 2015.

 

Erotic art can be so many things. Sweaty, lustful, horny or playful. It can be romantic, soulful and sometimes even melancholic. When I begin working on a new piece I rarely have little more than a tingle of anticipation and an eagerness to find out where my imagination will travel. Since an average shunga print takes at least fifty hours to design, this journey takes on many shades of desire as each layer is added to the original idea. There is the matter of my muse and also the sensation of taking a risk in exposing myself to the world. An artwork can end up completely different than first anticipated and this is a highly enjoyable path to travel.

In “Sutra” I play with the idea of physical as well as spiritual intimacy. I let a buddhist monk enter a tattooed woman somewhere in a bamboo grove beneath a large full moon. I know the persons in the scene intimately and experience their pleasurable moment in the Now as I am sketching, designing and painting. In the traditional Japanese erotic art of Shunga, the kiss is almost as rare as the anal penetration of the woman. For all its ingenuity in design Shunga is often surprisingly repetitive and conformist. This usually has very little to do with what is considered morals in the pseudo christian world of the west, but is a result of a completly different view of sex, as it is shaped by totally different cultural standards and ideals.

The cock entering the ass, a secret place where penetration is not considered “normal”, is for me a show of intimacy and trust. Only if both hearts are filled with burning and honest desire can the act be truly pleasurable for them both. It is a matter of invitation and receiving your lover very intimately. Almost like sharing a great secret. It can be a means of domination and surrender but it can also be a purely lustful game.

Neither monk nor woman can be considered automatically holy. What is holy comes from intentions and actions. In “Sutra” my lovers become holy as they melt together and let all ideas of “right” and “wrong” be cast aside and instead focus on what their hearts are whispering among the bamboo leaves rustled by the night wind. The moon lights up the grove and becomes an involuntary viewer of an unusual union of two souls. Sex and lust genitalized and commodified holds nothing to the fire of true intimacy. The heart has to be in it.

/Senju

P.s For more on why I paint Shunga please go here

 

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“Seduction” Shunga, ghosts and desperation.

“Seduction” Shunga, ghosts and desperation.

senju, horimatsu, shunga, erotic, erotica, japanese, japan, umeå, sweden, porn, pornography, ghost, seduction, moon, possession, fucking, sex, japanese tattoo, irezumi

The Shunga print “Seduction” is one of my earlier prints. Creating the mood and space took much longer than I expected. Proof that every art work lives its own life.

 

Sometimes the human heart clings desperatly to the idea of closeness and intimacy. “Seduction” depicts this desperation and longing for love dressing it in the imaginary fabrics of a classical ghost story. The ghost of Japanese myth and folklore holds a special  place in my artistic and romantic heart as the stories are often melancholic and breaths the air of strong human emotions. This particular scene is not based on a traditional Japanese ghost story but rather a figment of my own imagination.

In the abandoned old buddhist temple a young man has sought shelter for the night and fallen asleep on the worn and moldy tatami mats. Outside the darkened wooden walls, the night is black and velvety. Only the cikadas dare to make a sound. his tattooed body suggests that he is not of Samurai class but rather a ruffians or gambler. Perhaps an Otokodate traveling from one town to the next, exhausting hospitality through boasting and bullying, hustling and cheating.

She is trapped between heaven and hell, tethered to the temple grounds where her body was buried improperly and in haste after her shameful suicide. Her lover, who had sworn himself to her even in the death of their desperate suicide pact, had not followed her into the shadows. Afraid and trembling he had watched her slowly bleed to death from her self inflicted cuts across the her wrists, and the fled the scene, leaving her alone among the trees behind the old temple. Perhaps he cried for some time, but most likely he was strangely relieved that he was still alive. Perhaps her face passing into the dimness of silent death would haunt him momentarily during the remainder of his life but the memory of their young love would fade and wither until becoming just a faint whisper.

She had laid in the shadow of the cedars, bamboos and pines for little more than five days until she was found, all the while the family and friends searching for her would pass her by very close but never seem to divert their eyes in her direction. Sometimes the randomness of existence plays tricks on us like that. Finally some children exploring the shady wooded area behind the temple had found her and she had been buried to the scent of incense and sound of sobbing.

Now her ghost desperately crawls on top of the sleeping man, holding him so close, so very close…. straddling him and lowering her hips over his hard cock. She cannot remember desire, only this fear of being alone again. Her long disheveled hair floats around the dark room, slithering like snakes, every part of her ethereal  being clinging on for a dear life she does not posess any longer. She is confused and lonely and afraid. She will never leave him. He will never wake up again and never leave her. The cikadas are to busy serenading to pay any attention to the two figures ghostly embrace and after her body was found behind the temple last spring not even the curious children come here to roam and explore. Summer, autumn and winter will pass and perhaps no one will ever come looking for him.

And she will never be alone again.

/Senju

For more information on Shunga and other erotic things please see my links

 

 

 

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“New Year” by Senju

“New Year” by Senju

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“New Year” is the fifth and last print in my Shunga series using the five Japanese seasons. Issued in a limited edition of 15 copies.

 

Shunga print by Senju

“New Year”

Oban size 25,4 X 38 cm

Limited edition of 15 copies

 

The poem on the card reads;

ganjitsu ya

kino ni toki

asaborake

 

Translated to english it becomes;

the dawn of New Years Day –

yesterday

how far off!

 

The words are written by the Japanese poet Ichiku, and describes to me in a very direct way how all human ideas and concepts are fleeting. At best. As soon as you realize the nature of things and let go of all your delusions, the quicker you can start to live. We all exist within ourselves and are victims of a random chain of thoughts and ideas leading up to this very moment. Very little is really you. Most of what you think is You is really a complex composite of other peoples ideas about you. As you define yourself in life using the mirror image you experience when interacting with other people or simply living within a certain cultural and/or historical context, you probably have spent little time reflecting on what You really think and feel. Basically, most of us are thinking other peoples thoughts that are thinking other peoples thoughts that are thinking other peoples thoughts and so on for an eternity.

This way of experiencing yourself slowly grinds you down and robs you of the opportunity to truly experience intimacy, both with your self and others. We live out our lives full of ideas of what vulnerability, strength, passion or love is but we remain merely ghosts and lost spirits.

A touch on your skin from a another human being is Now. A kiss is an eternity. Standing close together naked is Here. Where words end and just the sound of the wind rustling the leaves on the trees plays inside your head. You really see that person. They see You. Nothing else matters. The realization that dying in this instant would not hurt or be even sad. This is intimacy.

As a man, when you penetrate, have you stopped to feel that you are inside that other person? Your vulnerability next to that persons vulnerability. Think about this. Live in that moment for just a second. It will change you forever. The genitals are not separated from the person. There is no beginning or end of the body. Where does the this part of the body end and that part begin? We have learnt what is what and where in school but if I asked one hundred people not even two would point at the exact same spot. So when you are intimate it is a matter of the Whole. Where does the mind end and the body begin? Where are You inside your body? If you went looking for it you could never find it. We are not those things we learned. We just Are. And we can be that together.

Just as the title of this Shunga print suggests, and just like the poem says, yesterday is dead since eternal time. Tomorrow has not been born yet. There is only Now.

Intimacy is so closely related to the reality of Now. Here. To be close you have to put down all those weapons you use on a daily basis to defend your fragile illusion against even an grain of true reality seeping through. You have to surrender. Stand naked. Let the ideas and feelings of separateness and anger go. If you hate you can not love. If you truly love you cannot hate. It is as simple as that. Why is it then that men are prepared to go to war and kill children for an idea’s sake but shun from expressing their emotions to another man? Hate and violence are not a part of our nature. If anyone tells you so they are afraid to look at the reality of things. These behaviors are learnt. We were taught these things and we teach each other the very same ideas over and over. Since we create our own suffering we can as easily end the very same. It will just take a split second of your time to begin that process.

Shunga is, just like all other forms of pornography, really just a substitution for real emotions. We are searching desperatly for intimacy but settle for lust. By centering the sexual in the genital region and the mechanical satisfaction brought by masturbation or “casual” or “recreational” physical sexual encounters, we conviniently avoid the dangers of real intimacy. Achieving intimacy is of course not an easy thing as most of us know. It requires that you constantly work with your self. Now.

 

/senju

Buy this print. For more writings on how my Shunga came alive please go here

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