Magazine article The New Yorker

Passion Fruit

Magazine article The New Yorker

Passion Fruit

Article excerpt

Nobuyoshi Araki's latest book presents many challenges, to local tastes, to legal standards (censorship laws forbid its publication in Japan), but most of all to shoplifters: "Araki by Araki," a collection of a thousand images taken over the past thirty years, weighs more than thirty pounds. Some readers may remember hefting another book by an erotic art-house photographer, the sixty-six-pound "Sumo," by Helmut Newton, published, like "Araki," by the German house Taschen. Others may unsheathe the silk-bound book from its bubble-gum-pink shipping case and think of shunga, the pornographic prints that brides of the Edo period traditionally brought to a marriage, along with the household furniture.

Araki, who was born in 1940, grew up near Tokyo's tenderloin district; almost daily, he played in a temple graveyard that served as a potter's field for courtesans. His favorite color is red. …

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