143 , 2017-03-17 , International Research Center for Japanese Studies
This article analyzes the shunga collection owned by the Mito Tokugawa family. It presents the discovery of six pieces from the Mito Tokugawa, one of the three branches of the Tokugawa. This collection helps us understand the uses and the spread of erotic art among the ruling classes in Edo period Japan. The collection, formed of different types of works (scrolls, books, prints, and sex toys) is important in documenting the high degree of acceptance of erotic art within the Tokugawa family. In particular, the 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. This suggests that it was common for all daimyo families to collect shunga.