Artist: Santo Kyoden
Confronting Bodies: Matsudaira Sadanobu, head of the Bakufu (The military government)
Date of Action: 1791
Specific Location: Japan
Description of Artwork: Three works of sharebon (Light fiction) dealing with the world of the pleasure quarters. They were not erotic and did not contain political content.
Description of Incident: In the early part of Kyoden's career, the censorship laws were not strictly enforced. He wrote many political satires at this time, including one about the fictional assassination attempt of the head of the Bakufu. In 1789 he was fined for including illustrations with this work.
By 1791, a new head of the Bakufu had taken over and censorship became tight. Three of Kyoden's sharebon were banned and he was forced to admit he wrote "Depraved books."
Results of Incident: Since these works are not particularly objectionable, it has been suggested that Kyoden was chosen for punishment for being a persistent offender or to punish him for his earlier works.
Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia. Ed. Derek Jones. Chicago; London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
Submitted By: NCAC