The Shunga Collection of the Mito Tokugawa

Japan Review (No.29, 2016, pp. 121-143) has published my research on the shunga collection owned by the Mito Tokugawa, one of the three branches of the Tokugawa family (gosanke). The collection, formed of different types of works (scrolls, books, prints and sex toys), is an important example that documents the high degree of acceptance of erotic art among the Tokugawa family. In particular, the extensive manuscript notes written by the daimyo Tokugawa Nariaki, show that the works were acquired as part of a regular family practice over the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. As a result, this collection helps us understand the uses and the spread of erotic art among the ruling classes in Edo period Japan and the study suggests that it was common for daimyo families to collect shunga.

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