• Kyodo


Japan’s first major exhibition of erotic art known as shunga, which ended earlier this week in Tokyo, drew more than 200,000 visitors during its three-month run, organizers said.

Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hokokawa, who heads the Eisei-Bunko Museum where the exhibition was held, said he was “surprised and happy with the huge response,” during a ceremony on Monday marking the 200,000th visitor — a couple from Kawagoe, northwest of Tokyo.

The exhibition of works mainly from the Edo Period (1603-1868) features about 120 shunga (literally “spring pictures”), comprising wood prints and paintings that depict men and women having sex in various settings.

The success follows a well-received show of Japanese sexually explicit images at the British Museum, titled “Shunga: Sex and pleasure in Japanese art” and held between October 2013 and January 2014.

Following its run in Tokyo from Sept. 19, the exhibition will move to the Hosomi Museum in Kyoto from Feb. 6. Only those aged 18 or older are allowed to enter.

As shunga was once banned in Japan for being obscene, about 10 facilities declined to host an exhibition before the Eisei-Bunko decided to stage the show, according to sources close to the matter.

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