Unlike other erotic books, which concentrate on tales of the pleasure quarters, Manpuku Wagojin is an example of the enpon (erotic tales in colour) form and describes stories concerning ordinary men and women. In this case the story involves Osane, daughter of the rich merchant Sazayama Arisuke, and Otsubi, daughter of the ruined merchant Kawanuya Hinbei.
The tale is an ironic variation of moralistic stories: Otsubi learns to take advantage of her sexual attraction in order to gain an important position in society, while Osane, who grew up without a proper awareness of her own femininity end up as a depraved prostitute. The explicitly anti-Confucian message is that the achievement of a certain social status depends entirely on one's skill in exploiting sexual resources.
This design shows Osane at the lowest stage of prostitution. She is reduced to streetwalking and is shown here spread-eagled on the ground after a group-rape. In spite of the brutality of the act, the picture in fact suggests that Osane has experienced a certain pleasure, underlined by the number of paper handkerchiefs strewn around her, conventionally used in erotic prints to suggest female satisfaction. The tousled hair indicates her depraved nature and is a sign that she will come to a sorry end.
Literature: Calza: Hokusai, p.211 (IV.13).
Like Hokusai's famous "Octopus"-design this shocking scene creates a same ambivalent feeling
and is among Hokusai's best work in shunga !
Antique Japanese color woodblock. Shunga (Erotic print).