About Ei Cohen's EHON [艶本(えほん)]


The EHON [艶本(えほん)] is categorized one of the most popularly red erotic fictitious narratives during Japanese Edo era, especially in the period from mid eiteenth to mid nineteenth century, which corresponds to the genre of the Ukiyoe in the Arts, in which often all things are exaggerated and unlikely real, but provided only for laughing.

Ei Cohen's EHON is a little bit different from that of Edo era, even thogh it refers to the straighforward detailed erotic behavior between men and women who appear in the stories, while most of expressions and mode of such erotic behavior and actions of the protagonists in the stories are unreal and exaggerated like in the Ukiyoe (so Ei Cohen himself refers it to the EHON.)

In Japan there is an expression "Yo-no-naka (世の仲)" which sounds same "Yo no naka(世の中)" which means "the wold or the life", but the former one means "the relationship between man and woman"(and so may be it also likely means "the erotic life - in sense of not only physical but also psychological relationship.) Ei Cohen was and is interested in writing out such relationship between man and woman (Yo-no-naka) in such ideal manner as unlikely real, seeking the ultimate phase of said relationship.

There often said, "we or our pesonalities or personal characters quite matches, or not." What may be said in such expression indeed, if it is said referring to the relationship between man anda woman? Ei Cohen believes, it is said eventually about the real erotic relationship between man and woman. Ei Cohen is always and only interested in expressly writing out the most ideal (it est, quite rare or almost unreal)"Yo-no-naka(世の仲)" in their erotic relationship. Ei Cohen believes, the erotic relashonship between man and woman is the main and most significant core theme in hisown woks and always it governs the stories. Ei Cohen believes, men and women, always seek to be "matched at most" each other with their partners in their erotic lives, and they might feel happiest in the ecstasy and joy in the everyday erotic life if it is likely possible. Because Cohen believes, man and woman might be always affectionated toward each other and feel each other precious through their life if they could share such ecstasy and joy in the every day erotic life, and they might be releaved together from every kind of psychological and material oppression given from everyday nuisance in their life.

Japanese people were quite frank and open to express their erotic feelings in the poems, songs and the narratives in every genres of literature and arts. Japanes people as a firming race from prehistoric era up to the current days always have belived and still believe that the erotic relationship in their life would be important and significant especially for the plentiful harvest and prosperity of the family bloodline. And they have straightforwardly, frankly and openly sung in the songs and poems, told in the narrarives, glorified and praised the joy and admire of the eros. And it has become the national spiritual and cultural fundamental core for the people and it remains so until now.

Although americanized mode of life after modernization of Japanese society starting from the so called "Reform of Meiji era", it has become difficult to retain such traditional spiritual and cultural behavior and practices, but it has not still been completely distinguished from the life style of japanese people. Ei Cohen has been hold in his own memory many episodes told in the days of youth, in which appeared the typical racial and cultural spirits of Japanese people. So Ei Cohen believed himself it should be the time when he might write possible fictitious narratives from such episodes in altered and enhanced style like old EHON published and read publicly in the classic era with plenty of eroticism.