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Table of Contents for Octopussy, Dry Liver & Blue Spots and The Woman Without a Hole, below.

1.   Colossal Endowment on Cloud Nine    2.   Moon Duty, or Until She Falls Off Her Horse     3.   Drown Not in the Very Wet Nurse!     4.   Ox Horn, Devil’s Tongue & Self Consolation     5.   Losing Noses to Night Hawks      6.   Navel-high Bobo & Mushroom Mara     7.   Dry Kidney, or Semper Paratus   8. The Heavenly Octopussy & Herring Roe Ceiling   9.   From Warm-up to Dying Aloud    10. Oh, No! The Poetess of Love is Missing What?  11.The Times are Good When They Hang Low  12. Good Bonzes Keep to the Narrow Path   13. Lady Doctors, Abortion & the Pill   14. Condoms as Dreams & Jellyfish (20c senryû)     15. Puppetry in the Land of the Rising Tongue!     16. Tea-shops Where the Sexes Come to Joust    17. Catamite Cat-Houses & their P/Matrons     18. Young-crowd, or the Fashionable Gay    19. Ugly “Dowry” & Hooded Turtles    20. Maid-servants, or Why They Hate Senryû    21. The World’s Worst Come-ons    22. Chili Peppers & Lima Beans, or the Kids    23. Hair-burn in Bed, Hair-cuts in the Bath    24. Wearing Your Love Upon Your Head    25. The Isle of Wind-loving Women    26. Held in, Sadly Passed, Properly Cut . . .     27. Micturition Mimesis, or Sound Ideals     28. & Forget Not Paper,  the Measure of Love    29. Ku that Fit No Chapter or Escape Me    30. The Blue Spot Papa Made Proves Mama’s Pretty   (and there are many minor themes searchable in the copious indexes of ideas and names, or better yet, try amazon or google search within book)

If the Table of Contents keeps you guessing, fine.  You will enjoy the chapters better if you are uncertain what you will find, and that reflects the nature of dirty senryu: many are meant to be riddles. If you and your computer read Japanese, go here to see the bilingual stereo table of contents that will only give it away to those who already know what is what and tantalize those in-between.

Reasons why dirty senryu are valuable according to RH Blyth, John Solt & Timon Screech, below.

Senryû are a version of the 5:7:5 syllable poetic genre of haikai [usually referred to as haiku in English] which treat contemporary fads and neuroses; they are hugely useful for evidence of sexual mores and will be cited repeatedly. . .  Timon Screech: Sex and the Floating World – Erotic Images in Japan, 1700-1820  (University of Hawai’i Press, 1999)

“Bareku perform the important function of providing a literary corrective to some of the artistic conventions found in shunga that otherwise might be interpreted as social conventions.”  John Solt: Willow Leaftips 1996 [see note below]

“Only a few verses are given here, not the best, but the best printable ones.”   – R.H. Blyth:  Edo Satirical Verse Anthologies [see note below]

“Virtue is dull, and truth is flat, and beauty is monotonous. Wickedness and falsity and monstrosity are infinite and eternal things,  –  this is what we realize in the verses of the Yanagidaru and Mutamagawa and so on, which are thus the universe reconciling itself to us. They do what Milton failed to do, // “assert Eternal Impudence, / And justify the ways of man to man.”  Blyth: Japanese Life and Character in Senryu.


Shunga are “erotic woodblock prints” and bareku dirty poems that may or may not be senryu, but Solt is talking senryu here.

Blyth’s implication is that the worthiest senryu (like the best limericks) tend to be the dirtiest ones.  His anthology is mostly Mutamagawa proto-senryu, or zappai, but includes senryu and the above words refer particularly to those collected in Suetsumuhama (Pluck in my book).  Mutamagawa is usually not considered to be at all obscene, but actually, it contains much of what was later expanded upon by senryu, including the dirt. Haiku-only purists might note that in another book, Japanese Life and Character in Senryu, Blyth recommended senryu over haiku for understanding Japanese.)

Beauty is not monotonous unless it is defined as ideal and the ideal is understood to be singular, and the fact that there are more varieties of ugliness than beauty does not necessarily make them eternal, but I agree with Blyth’s larger point, want his books to sell forever and think of myself as supplementing rather than supplanting him. I just wish he were alive to see the unprintable in print and comment upon it!

The odd wall-paper? It is an illustration of why there should be no sex in the last part of pregnancy, taken from a 19c book of gynecological medicine. The infant is merrily beating off an intruder and the author comments on the blue mark on a baby's butt that I call a blue spot for the sound of it and that is all I will say now, for I do not want to give away the fun -- you must read the book (unless you can read the japanese below) to find out what it is all about.   rdg