Exhibiting Erotic Art (Shunga) and The Problem of Obscenity in 20th Century Japan

s200_amaury_a..garciaHumanities Forum
Tuesday, November 26 | 4:00 p.m.
“Exhibiting Erotic Art (Shunga) and The Problem of Obscenity in 20th Century Japan,” Amaury Garcia, Professor, Center for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de Mexico
Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery

This Humanities Forum is sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies and co-sponsored with the Department of Visual Arts and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

In Japan today there is an informal prohibition against public exhibitions of erotic prints, or shunga, from the Edo period (1603-1868). For most of the 20th century they were considered obscene, and their publication was required to follow regulations stipulating that any bodily representation should be arranged or altered so that the genitals and pubic hair be kept hidden. Dr. Garcia will discuss the history of modern discourses regarding the changing nature of shunga’s multiple identities, from commodity and popular entertainment to “obscenity,” and then to “art”; that is, how they were interpreted and then censored in later periods for reasons far beyond their original cultural context.

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