Persimmons are crazy in season where I live, that is to say the south end of eastern Japan, so I thought I'd share this sagashie (searching-picture) by, I believe, TAKEHISA Yumeji (竹久夢二):

"This is a bad child," sez the caption, "And so, thinking that no-one is around, he is stealing someone else's persimmons. But someone is in fact watching him, as all good children should know."

I am sure there is a paper at least and more likely a thesis in illustration-based moral instruction for pre-war Japanese children. As far as I can tell, it was invariably based on the "someone could be watching" hypothesis rather than the "it's wrong" axiom.

Or perhaps the explanation is too simple: Japan lacks the Judeo-Christian God who is always watching and, in a manger two thousand years ago, always in tears at your wickedness.

(Yes. Yours.)

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Nice to know Msr. Takehisa was thinking about something when he weren't macking on the ladiez.

(Not bringing the "someone is watching" into that. No-ope.)


I picture him drawing this while macking on the ladies.


And that is probably true.

Jim O'Connell:

When I glanced at the picture, I remembered an incident a few weeks ago where I was standing on the fourth-floor balcony of my studio near Ueno, having a cigarette, watching some children below on the street, knocking the fruit from the trees with long sticks, just like in the woodcut.
It was their family's tree, so I didn't admonish them of course, but soon, being little boys, they were using the long sticks as swords, so I felt compelled to call out: Abunai! Stop that—be careful of your eyes...
The look on their faces as they looked up, heavenward, to where the voice came from was priceless. The older boy dropped his stick and apologized before doing a deep bow.
Thanks for posting this.


Hey, my pleasure. Nice anecdote! I liked your recent post about Jokanji (found via Metafilter).

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