Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Asian Languages & Civilizations

First Advisor

David Atherton

Second Advisor

Laurel Rodd

Third Advisor

Keller Kimbrough


This thesis is comprised of two parts: a literature review of Edo enshō kobanashi, short comic tales of an erotic nature, and translations of such texts. The literature review addresses the general context needed to appreciate enshō kobanashi as well as the state of modern scholarship on the subject. Kobanashi, short comic tales known as a precursor to rakugo, belongs to a larger literary genre of hanashibon, which emerged during the Edo period and had its peak during the An’ei and Tenmei periods. Despite its pervasiveness as popular literature throughout the Edo period, hanashibon are relatively understudied and academic research is rather scant. Among kobanashi are tales of an erotic nature known today as enshō kobanashi. Enshō is a modern term for a literary mode of erotic humor that was widely popular during the Edo period. While these enshō works provide insight into the plebian lives of Edo citizens, due to modern stigmatization, they are obscure and overlooked. This translation features sixty-one representative enshō kobanashi from the genre’s heyday, the An’ei and Tenmei periods.