Aloha! Welcome to Arts of the Bedchamber: Japanese Shunga. I'm Stephan Jost, Director of the Honolulu Museum of Art.
This is the first of three exhibitions of Japanese art that discuss the subject of sexuality in Japanese society as represented both in shunga - that is, Japanese erotic art - as well as other artworks. In this exhibition, we will discuss the development of shunga as a distinct genre in the 17th and 18th century. We'll focus on the connection between shunga and Japanese woodblock printmaking in general, the intended audience of shunga, the ways that shunga reflects early modern Japanese ideas about gender, and the relationship between Japanese art and the Japanese sex industry.
Please be aware that this show is not intended for a general audience. In particular, it might not be appropriate for those below the age of eighteen or for people who find the graphic depictions and discussion of sexuality to be offensive.
We've selected four artworks in this exhibit to discuss via these audio tours. Each artwork represent a unique facet of the shunga genre. Some of the artworks are lighthearted in nature, while others grapple with complex social issues. Still others refer to Japanese history and literature. Of course, since these artworks were produced by some of the most talented Japanese print artisans of their generation, each tour will discuss the aesthetic qualities of the artwork as well.
So welcome to Arts of the Bedchamber. It was curated by Shawn Eichman and Stephen Salel, curators here on staff at the Honolulu Museum of Art.