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160308-0048 - Woman Cleaning Man's Ear

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Inside Meiji 1900s Kokkei Shimbun

Illustration of a woman cleaning the ear of a man, a common intimate activity in old Japan. The caption suggests that the woman does the activity even when the ears are basically clean, suggesting love and dedication.

Postcard published by the Kokkei Shimbun (滑稽新聞社発行) in 1908 (Meiji 40). The satirical publication was founded in 1901 (Meiji 34) by Osaka-based journalist Miyatake Gaikotsu (宮武外骨, 1867-1955) whose real name was Kameshiro Miyatake (宮武龜四郎).

Between May 1907 (Meiji 40) and June 1909 (Meiji 42), Kokkei Shimbun featured a supplement named Ehagaki Sekai (絵葉書世界, The World of Illustrated Postcards). Each issue contained 30 postcards, many giving salty social commentary. In total 26 issues were published, this card was published in Volume 12.

Under pressure from the authorities, Miyatake shut down the Kokkei Shimbun in 1909, ending it with a “Suicide Issue.”

Caption: あるかなきかのみみくそ (Aru ka naki ka no mimi kuso) — Earwax so slight as to be all but non-existent
Title: 好いた中 (Suita naka) — Happy couple

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Ehagaki Sekai, Ehagaki Sekai Volume 12, Kokkei Shimbun, Miyatake Gaikotsu, books, clothing, culture, customs, fashion, hairstyles, humor, kimono, obi, people, reading, women
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