File:Mori Ranmaru-Utagawa Kuniyoshi-ca.1850- from TAIHEIKI EIYUDEN .jpg
See also: Pederastic couples in classical antiquity for ancient Greece, Rome, Carthage and Persia
See also: Historical pederastic couples

The tradition of Japanese pederasty originated in the relationships between Buddhist and Shinto clerics and their acolytes, who were known as chigo(稚児 ) .

It was adopted in medieval times by the samurai warrior class, which utilized it as a means of acculturating young samurai into the warrior community, and as a means of reinforcing loyalty and friendship between comrades. It was known as Shudō and constructed as a Way, or that that had an ethic and an aesthetic, that could be transmitted, and was authoritative.

After the pacification of the country under the Tokugawa shogunate the tradition was borrowed by the rising townsmen classes and became increasingly commercialized.

A famous Pederastic couples is enumerated as follows.

Asuka periodEdit


Nara periodEdit

  • Ōtomo no Yakamochi and Fujiwara no Kusumaro
  • Ōtomo no Yakamochi and Kon no Myogun or Yo no Myogun
    • Their mutual love poems appear in the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, "Man'yōshū".
  • Kūkai (Kōbō-Daishi) and Taihan
    • Kukai was the legendary founder of the Japanese male love tradition, placing this relationship around 788.
  • Saichō (Dengyō Daishi) and Taihan
    • Although Taihan was Saicho's favorite pupil and promised to be the successor of archibishop in Tendai Buddhism, also around 788, he went to study Shingon Buddhism under Kukai. No matter how insistently Saicho asked Taihan to come back, his entreaties were useless (several letters are extant). Wholly devoted to Kukai, Taihan became one of the Ten Disciples of Kukai and never went back to Saicho. Indignant, Saicho severed his connection with Kukai, after which these two greatest founders of Japanese Buddhism sects remained at odds.

Heian periodEdit

File:Yoshitoshi Ariwara Narihira.jpg

Kamakura periodEdit

Muromachi periodEdit

  • Hosokawa Takakuni and Yanagimoto Kenji
    • Takakuni, despite having sworn eternal love to Kenji, allowed Kenji's brother to be murdered. Later Kenji rose in vengeance against him with an army.
  • Yanagimoto Kenji and Takahata Jinkurō
    • Knowing Kenji prepared a rebellion, Jinkuro vowed silence, but refused to break his allegiance to Lord Takakuni, warning Kenji that despite their love, he would not hesitate to kill him in battle.

Sengoku periodEdit

  • Uesugi Kenshin and Kawada Nagachika (1545?-1581)
    • Uesugi Kenshin, brave general and daimyo, he did not married throughout his life.
    • In the military epic,[12] there are no grounds as the historical fact though it is insisted to Kenshin that there be a sexual relation to 600 boys.

Azuchi-Momoyama periodEdit

  • Oda Nobunaga and Hasegawa Hidekazu (? -1594)
  • Oda Nobunaga and Maeda Inuchiyo (Maeda Toshiie )
    • Maeda Toshiie was very attractive as a boy, so at the age of 15 he became Oda Nobunaga's favorite and was always with him day and night. Afterwards at a celebration banquet in 1576, Oda Nobunaga related his reminiscences and told him "You were my very favorite boy indeed, and every night slept with me on the same bed(futon)" holding Toshiie's beard with smile. Listening to his memoirs, all samurai warriors and daimyo at the banquet were envious of Toshiie's good luck, and remarked with one voice "Bravo Maeda Toshiie! You exremely lucky man, because you were profoundly loved by our lord prince Nobunaga".[15]
  • Oda Nobunaga and Mori Ranmaru (1565-1582)
    • Nobunaga met his end in an ambush in 1582, at Honnō-ji temple, assassinated by Akechi Mitsuhide, whose lands he had wanted to take and give to Mori Ranmaru. Ranmaru, still in his teens, died fighting by Oda's side.
  • Oda Nobuyuki (1536 - 1557, younger brother of Oda Nobunaga) and Tsuzuki Kurando (Jujo)
  • Oda Nobutoki (?-1556, younger brother of Oda Nobunaga) and Sakai Magoheiji
    • Nobunaga's brothers ruined themselves because of excessive love for their favorites.

Tokugawa period (Edo period)Edit

Meiji periodEdit


  1. However, it is recorded that Emperor Tenji and Fujiwara no Kamatari were in this relation in Oyamada Tomokiyo, " Nanshoku-kō ", 『男色考』
  2. "古事談" ("Kojidan")
  3. "台記" or "The Diary of Fujiwara no Yorinaga , "続古事談", "Zoku-Kojidan"
  4. "台記" or "The Diary of Fujiwara no Yorinaga"
  5. "吾妻鏡","Azuma Kagami)"
  6. "本朝浜千鳥", Honcho Hamachidori
  7. ("塩尻", Shiojiri, "太平記", Taiheiki, "麓の色", Fumoto no iro
  8. "応仁前記"",Onin zenki"
  9. 新井白石 Arai Hakuseki " 藩翰譜" "Hankan-fu"
  10. "大内義隆軍記","Ōuchi Yoshitaka Gunki"
  11. Leupp, pp.53-54
  12. "Shōnen-ai no Renga Haikai shi" 1997, ISBN 4-8060-4623-X
  13. 新井白石 Arai Hakuseki " 藩翰譜" "Hankan-fu" ,太田錦城 Ota Kinjo " 梧窓漫筆" ,"Goso-manpitsu"
  14. "戦国美少年四天王"
  15. "亜相公御夜話" or "Night-stories of Maeda Toshiie"
  16. 太田錦城 Ota Kinjo " 梧窓漫筆" ,"Goso-manpitsu"
  17. 太田錦城 Ota Kinjo " 梧窓漫筆" ,"Goso-manpitsu"
  18. 太田錦城 Ota Kinjo " 梧窓漫筆" ,"Goso-manpitsu"
  19. 『片倉代々記』,"Katakura Daidaiki"
  20. Louis Crompton, p.439
  21. Crompton, p.439
  22. "寛明記事" ("Kanmei-kiji") or "The Chronicle from kan'ei to meireki"
  23. "Date Masamune's letters", Tokyo: Sinchosensho,1995, ISBN 4106004798 ISBN 978-4106004797
  24. "葉隠","Hagakure"
  25. "三王外記""Sanno gaiki"or "The secret history of the three rulers", 御当代記" or "The history of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi",etc.
  26. Rictor Norton, Ed. My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters through the Centuries; pp.71-72
  27. "Seichu bukan","誠忠武鑑","Chugi Bukegirimonogatari","忠義武家義理物語","Chugi Taiheiki-taizen","忠義太平記大全",etc.


  • Ihara Saikaku (Paul Gordon Schalow, trans.). The Great Mirror of Male Love. Stanford University Press, 1990. ISBN 978-0804718950
  • Leupp, Gary. Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan. University of California Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0520209008
  • Pflugfelder, Gregory. Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950. University of California Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0520251656
  • Watanabe, Tsuneo et Jun'ichi Iwata, La voie des éphèbes: histoire et histoires des homosexualités au Japon. Paris, 1987. ISBN 2865090248
  • Watanabe, Tsuneo and Jun'ichi Iwata. The Love of the Samurai: A Thousand Years of Japanese Homosexuality. GMP, London, 1989. ISBN 0-85449-115-5
  • Miller, Stephen D. (edited), Partings at Dawn : An Anthology of Japanese Gay Literature. 1996. ISBN 0-940567-18-0
  • Hanafusa Shiro, Nanshoku-ko, 1928.
  • Inagaki Taruho, Inagaki Taruho Taizen 2, 1969.
  • Domoto Masaki, Nanshoku Engeki-shi, 1970.
  • Domoto Masaki, Nanshoku Engeki-shi, (New rev.), 1976.
  • Iwata, Jun'ichi, Honcho Nanshoku-ko, 1974.
  • Iwata, Jun'ichi, Nanshoku bunkenshoshi, 1973.
  • Minakata Kumagusu, Minakata Kumagusu Zenshu 9, 1973.
  • Hasegawa Kozo and Tsukikawa Kazuo (eds.), Minakata Kumagusu nanshoku dangi, 1991. ISBN 4896946138
  • Iwata, Jun'ichi, Honcho Nanshoku-ko & Nanshoku bunkenshoshi, 2002. ISBN 4562034890
  • Sunaga Asahiko, Bishōnen Nihonshi, 2002. ISBN 4336043981
  • Sunaga Asahiko et al.(eds.), Shomotsu no Okoku 8; Bishōnen, 1997. ISBN 4336040087
  • Sunaga Asahiko et al.(eds.), Shomotsu no Okoku 9; Ryoseiguyu, 1998. ISBN 4336040095
  • Sunaga Asahiko et al.(eds.), Shomotsu no Okoku 10; Doseiai, 1999. ISBN 4336040109
  • Hanasaki kazuo, Edo no Kagemajaya, 1980, 1991.
  • Hanasaki kazuo, Edo no Kagemajaya, (New rev.), 2002. ISBN 4895222853
  • Hanasaki kazuo, Edo no Kagemajaya, (New rev.), 2006. ISBN 4895224708
  • Shunroan Shujin (Watanabe Shin'ichiro), Edo no Shikido; Nanshoku-hen, 1996. ISBN 4916067177
  • Watanabe Shin'ichiro, Edo no Keibo-jutsu, 2005. ISBN 4106035472
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See alsoEdit

External linksEdit