Really Weird Japanese Shadow Pictures from the Edo Period

We all know that the Japanese can be weird sometimes. Really weird. Well, it turns out that their craziness is not a modern phenomenon - it's been around since at least the feudal period! Consider this: the Kage-e or shadow pictures, a popular form of woodblock print from the Edo period.

These pictures consist of two parts: a “shadow” image and a “real” image. The shadow image, which typically bears the shape of a common, easily identifiable object, is viewed first. The real image, viewed second, reveals the surprising true identity of the shadow.

The kage-e above is by ukiyoe master Kuniyoshi (ca. 1852). The shadow looks like goldfish, but it's actually flying tanuki (raccoon dog) crushing a man with its giant testicles!

Pink Tentacles blog has more: Link

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The Studio Ghibli Feature length cartoon "Pom Poko" was a about Tanuki's. Aside from the scrotal battle there realy are quite a few gorgeous scenes and the english dub is acted pretty well.
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