Ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints, are a celebrated art form in Japan with a long and distinguished history. But you’d be mistaken if you thought it was all serious art and depictions of beautiful things. There’s also a lot of ukiyo-e out there that’s a bit, well, weird and gross, like that one picture of the dudes farting at each other. Today, we’d like to share with you one such bizarre collection from famous artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa depicting one of Japan’s most beloved national animals, the tanuki, aka raccoon dog – notorious for having really, really huge testicles.
Kuniyoshi Utagawa was a very famous ukiyo-e painter and one of the last great masters of the art form. During the 1800s he produced many beautiful woodblock prints encompassing a wide range of genres such as landscapes, beautiful women, kabuki actors, and mythical animals, and, it would seem, tanuki with really huge balls! Let’s take a gander at this gallery of his best work depicting the raccoon dog‘s dangly bits.
▼ In this piece, a raccoon dog attempts to fend off crop-eating birds with a billowing cloud of, erm, ballsack.
▼ Here, the tanukis cover up to avoid a bitter storm with the use of improvised umbrella-ballbags.
▼ Catching fish is easier if you’ve got a net, or in this case, two enormous happy sacks.
▼ Some sort of strongman competition to see who has the heavier set of danglies…we think?
▼ These enterprising tanuki entrepreneurs have opted to paint their family jewels and use them as billboards for their business!
▼ Some sort of play or performance, featuring balls in the starring role.
▼ Hop aboard the good ship Kintama (that’s Japanese for balls, you know)!
▼ More fishing! Let’s hope those fish don’t have sharp teeth. Yeowch.
▼ Time for sumo, but what’s that? There’s no sumo ring OR sumo thongs? We’ll just have to use our balls instead!
▼ Nothing like huddling under a nice warm blanket of your own dangly bits during a frigid winter.
Now, before you go thinking that ol’ Kuniyoshi Utagawa was completely off his rocker, allow us to reassure you that it’s actually totally normal for the tanuki to be depicted with an oversized scrotum – it symbolises financial good luck. Whether these particular paintings are the sort of thing you’d like to hang on your living room wall or not, however, is something you’re completely free to decide for yourselves.