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Pillow book

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Pillow book

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 10.03.2007 9:49 pm

I'm wondering about the origin of the idea that there is something in Japanese culture called a "pillow book" that depicts sexual positions (sort of like a kama sutra, I guess). I first encountered this usage in James Clavell's Shogun, which is hardly the most accurate source, but since then I've heard some people use the term -- primarily older men (at least 60's).

As far as I can see, the Koujien does not list any word that could conceivably be translated as "pillow book" having anything to do with sex. Obviously the most well known pillow book is Sei Shonagon's Makura no Soushi; the exact meaning of that title is disputed but it obviously has nothing to do with sex. Other definitions in the Koujien seem to be essentially books like Sei Shonagon's MnS.

Using a google search, it seems that the term is used for a sexual positions book from other Asian countries as well (i.e. China and India) and there's some evidence of it being used as just a general term for any type of sexual manual -- is this then a term that was invented wholesale by Westerners?
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RE: Pillow book

Postby xhilononi234 » Wed 10.03.2007 9:54 pm

It may have been, I'm not sure. They are called "pillow books" because couples would sit on pillows and read them before having sex or something similar to that (I forget the exact reason, I just remember seeing "The History of Sex" on the History Channel a few weeks ago and I forget most of it.

As far as the Japanese name, I don't know.
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RE: Pillow book

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 10.03.2007 10:02 pm

At least I'm not the only one who heard of it.

(Also to clarify, I'm not just wondering whether illustrated sexual manuals exist in Japan -- the idea seems to be that this is some sort of cultural tradition.)
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RE: Pillow book

Postby inuinu » Wed 10.03.2007 10:51 pm

「枕絵」を筆頭に「艶本」「春画」「四諸ェ手」などを検索ワードにして検索すると
お求めらしきものが出てくると思います。
枕草子は「枕のそばにある日記」のような解釈で、
「寝そべりながら、思いつくままに日々を綴った日記」という感じに思ったほうが
内容に似合っていると思います。
訳題が"pillow book" になってるとは知りませんでした。
変な方向に誤解されてそうですね B)

(※リンクは削除しました。興味がある方は検索でお探しください)
元がカーマスートラとありますが、真面目な経典としてや、
カップルがそこから学ぶためのマニュアルというより
私のその時代の日本についての印象では
「なんか新しくて変わったものが来たぞ。取り入れてみるかな」というような
「流行もの」のような感覚で親しまれていたような気がします。
Last edited by inuinu on Sat 10.20.2007 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
tasukeru kotoga dekiru nara
tasuketai to omou.
dakedo eigo ha nigate.
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RE: Pillow book

Postby dmizer » Wed 10.03.2007 11:58 pm

^ ... definitely NSFW link. :o

edit:
Though, now that I think about it, I'm an idiot for 1) not reading the Japanese first, and 2) for not having the forethought to realize that the topic would be indicative of a NSFW link. :|
Last edited by dmizer on Thu 10.04.2007 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Pillow book

Postby chikara » Thu 10.04.2007 1:56 am

That link should come with a kiddy safe warning :o :o
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there
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RE: Pillow book

Postby inuinu » Thu 10.04.2007 4:51 am

すみません、修正しておきました。
スレッドの内容が警告として充分だろうと思って省きましたが、
配慮に欠けていたようです。
英語での警告も必要なら、例文を書いていただけると幸いです。
ふさわしい英語がよくわからないので・・・。
のちほどそれをコピーして、もう一度編集追加します。 :(
Last edited by inuinu on Thu 10.04.2007 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Pillow book

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 10.04.2007 8:10 am

Yeah, I think the thread topic makes it pretty clear a link is going to be NSFW. :)

Thanks for the response, inuinu.
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RE: Pillow book

Postby coco » Thu 10.04.2007 11:33 am

inuinu wrote:
英語での警告も必要なら、例文を書いていただけると幸いです。
ふさわしい英語がよくわからないので・・・。
のちほどそれをコピーして、もう一度編集追加します。 :(


Inuinuさん
もうすでにYudanさんには伝わっているでしょうから
URL自体を削除してはいかがですか。 :|
Last edited by coco on Thu 10.04.2007 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Pillow book

Postby Oracle » Thu 10.04.2007 11:38 am

I work from home, and let's just say it redefines NSFW :D
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RE: Pillow book

Postby Kagemaru » Thu 10.04.2007 11:55 am

Hahaha...

Well, you asked for it, you got it!
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RE: Pillow book

Postby Orcrist » Mon 10.15.2007 2:19 pm

Mainichi's always intresting WaiWai article actually mentions something relevant I think:

An old book titled "Koshoku Tabimakura" (the travel pillow of lust) made its appearance in the 1695, the eighth year of the Genroku Period, a time when an illicit sexual relationship could earn the participants a beheading at worst, or a public shaming for three days at the Nihombashi fish market at least. So the "Tabimakura" became popularized as a instruction guide on how to grab a quickie without getting caught.



As for the entire article: click
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RE: Pillow book

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 10.15.2007 4:01 pm

Waiwai is the Japanese equivalent of the National Enquirer or the Sun, so that's not trustworthy at all.
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RE: Pillow book

Postby doinkies » Tue 10.16.2007 1:25 am

Yeah...especially considering the original article is from a tabloid with some random bikini model on the cover that apparently has a reputation for featuring lurid articles about sex.
Last edited by doinkies on Tue 10.16.2007 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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今日も暮れてゆきます
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夕日がきれいな街
-森高千里 「渡良瀬橋」
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RE: Pillow book

Postby Orcrist » Tue 10.16.2007 5:36 am

Never said it was reliable, and ofcourse waiwai aint trustworthy, however they make mention of similar subjects discussed in this thread. If you're serious about inquiring information about this specific subject it wouldn't hurt to investigate leads based on information from less reliable sources such as tabloids. Even rumours and sensation stories always have a certain amount of reliable information in them, else there wouldnt be a story in the first place.
And its a common used method to find reliable information using less reliable information. Heinrich Schliemann didnt find Troy by discarding information from unreliable sources. ;)
But just trying to help, thought it might be intresting nonetheless.
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