Artist: Isoda Koryūsai (礒田湖龍斎)

Print: Haikai meoto Mane'emon 6 (俳諧女夫-まねへもん - 六) or 'Mane'emon Discovers a Miniature Woman Under a Basket' from the series Poems of the Male and Female Mane'emon

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Dates: 1770,created
Dimensions: 11.25 in,8.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - a 2nd copy; Harvard Art Museums - another example from this series; Tokyo National Museum - #24; Tokyo National Museum - #21; Tokyo National Museum - #30; Tokyo National Museum - #30? - a different print than the previous one;

Physical description:

This is from a series of 24 chūban shunga prints by Koryūsai. Each of the prints has an incubus or succubus or both observing the human encounters. The term haikai in the title is meant to imply a somewhat humorous or vulgar poem accompanying each image and its sexual intent.

The 'Mane'emon' of the title is the little male figure in the background, wearing the black head covering, while observing the small female figure in the cage.

At one point this unsigned print was attributed to Harunobu.


There is a whole series of prints at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, dated ca. 1765-70, entitled 'The Amorous Adventures of Mane'emon' (Fūryū enshoku Mane'emon). It is worth look at this set to see the comparisons with the Koryūsai prints, like this one. The Harunobu prints show "...the adventures of a tiny "Bean-man" spying on the carnal affairs of individuals around the country, and usually showing the funny side of such encounters from the perspective of the the voyeur."

Quoted from: "No Laughing Matter: A Ghastly Shunga Illustration by Utagawa Toyokuni" by Higuchi Kazutaka in Japanese Review, #26, p. 2013, 239.