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GREETINGS FROM EROS!: Hokusai and the Erotic Calendar-Print. Richard Lane, bilingual (Japanese/English) text. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo, 2000. Unpaginated, profusely illustrated — color plates, b/w photos, 3,800 yen.

Sending calendar prints as New Year salutations was one of the amenities of traditional Japan. Much like the contemporary New Year’s cards with which your mailbox is presently crammed, these “nengajo” were seasonal reminders of good will. And just as yours will end up in tomorrow’s trash, these somewhat more elaborate greetings were also discarded. This is what makes them now so rare.

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