japonisme: octopii -- can't live with em' can't live without 'em

24 August 2009

octopii -- can't live with em' can't live without 'em

there are numerous myths about lovely tamatori, the simple pearl-diver. unfortunately they wildly contradict each other. for simplicity's sake, i'll offer this shorter one.

The legend of Princess Tamatori (Tamatorihime), or Ama, developed around the historical figure Fujiwara no Kamatari (614-69), who was the founder of the powerful Fujiwara clan.

Upon Kamatari’s death, the Tang dynasty emperor who had received Kamatari’s beautiful daughter as a consort, sent three priceless treasures to Japan in order to comfort his grieving lover by honoring her father. One of the treasures, a pearl, was stolen by the dragon king during a storm on its way to Japan in the inlet of Fusazaki.

Kamatari’s son Fujiwara no Fuhito (659-720) went in search of the pearl to the isolated area where he met and married a beautiful pearl diver named Ama, who bore him a son. Ama, full of love for their son, vowed to help recover the stolen pearl. After many failed attempts, Ama was finally successful when the dragon and grotesque creatures guarding it were lulled to sleep by music.

Upon reclaiming the treasure, she came under pursuit by the awakened sea creatures. She cut open her breast to place the pearl inside for safe- keeping; the resulting flow of blood clouded the water and aided her escape. She died from the resulting wound but is revered for her selfless act of sacrifice for her husband Fuhito and their son. 1

and as you might have noticed, there is another strong tradition, believed to be based in this myth, of the ladies and their 8-legged friends. a modern 'parody' follows.


As soon as her lover had concluded his scrupulous congress and lay sleeping, Hanako crept out of bed and, carelessly throwing on an outer-robe, ran to the fish pond for solace.

'Moonlit apricots fell from their branches with a plop and floated on the water as the lady lay all abject on the muddy bank. Meanwhile, Yugure, the giant of twilight, called up from the depths by the sad sound of weeping, rose to the surface in all his kindly majesty.

'Spying Hanako's white hand upon the water, Yugure opened his muscular lips and sucked sympathetically at her fingers, which shed their sadness under his touch and opened out like jasmine flowers.

'Under the bridge of the night sky with the air smelling of apricots the great carp scented out another delicacy, and this was the lady's small bare foot which dangled, abandoned, in the sultry water. The small morsels of her toes filled his ardent mouth, and each one he worshipped separately, until Hanako's eyelids drooped with contentment and her long sigh rippled the surface like a balmy wind.

'With a spiralling dive Yugure swept his silver belly lightly along the curved sole of her foot, and resurfaced to nudge her splendid calf, which glimmered in the moonlight. All thought of her scrupulous lover was banished now, as Hanako rolled on to her back and, luxuriating in the slickness of the mud, stretched her legs out in the shallows until her robe floated up around her like a giant water-lily.

`Yugure circled the lady amorously, for on the table of the waters the feast had been laid for him, and he wished for nothing more than to taste her pleasure.

`Hanako, for her part, felt the golden head butt gently between her thighs, and she clasped her legs eagerly round his broad girth, for his slippery scales were far less chilly to the touch than the pallid skin of her lover. Her small breasts bobbed like apricots on the water as the great lips closed on the kernel of her, and she cried 0 0 0, and hid her face in her tumbling hair, feeling the four tender barbels stroke her with a touch lighter than lark's breath.

`With exquisite consider- ation, Yugure scooped up water and blew it in spouting fountains upon Hana- ko's tender- est places, so that when his lips swam back to nibble her they found the lady anchored unflinchingly to her own pleasure, and swell- ing up to meet them. And if Yugure’s heart swelled also, then so might a gardener feel who has watered his pea·flowers lovingly throughout the spring and now admires them in their glorious unfolding.

‘With his tickling barbels teasing at her outer crevices, the giant fish enclosed both pea and pod within his noble lips. And there were moments when he sucked, and moments when he blew, and moments when the delicate morsel rolled in his mouth as if it would detach itself from its moorings. The lady’s juices flowed saltily, and her limbs quivered, and her belly arched, and he knew that before too long he would be rewarded by the lovely wash and thrash of her.

‘At last, with her excellent gate open as never before, Hanako cried out in the velvet night and fed her pleasure to him inch by streaming inch, and Yugure drank down her very good essence and held it hotly in the thrill of his fins and the diamond patterns of his belly, for what better accompaniment is there to the lavish feast of love than the intoxicating wine of the soul?

‘And afterwards she laid her mud·slicked hand on his accommo- dating head, and both carp and lady lolled back in the sultry shallows, she heavy-lidded and content, he with his lidless eyes unwavering under the curious scrutiny of the stars.

Alison Fell
copyright 2000

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Anonymous evan said...

so...this is what goes on in an octopus's garden (the Beatles's song was pretty vague, probably to avoid an explicit material label). I happen to love the weirdness. I love the ocean, but not enough, I'm pretty sure, to "do" an octopus. Octopi aren't quite so choosy (lessee, you & you & you, too & the other one, the blond, the pearl diver & her sister...c'mon, I've got one more free hand...er...tentacle...).

25 August, 2009 10:59  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh-- i forgot about that song!

but you don't have to worry, evan, cause i've only seen octupii doing females.... (though there was this one image with a half-woman/half-octopus....)

25 August, 2009 13:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bezdna = the Abyss. Russian National Gallery, St Petersburg. Poster for movie or play/found 2 mentions, 1900 or 1917 by M. Kalmanson.
Drama in 5 acts, written by C.Pschibichevski. Main roles: Elena Bojevskaia & Wladislaw Lentchevski. Scenario, adaptation: W. Lentchevski. "Standard"(?), Moscow, Tvierskaia St.
Angelika is the delicious neighbour from Russia who helped and the poster is great.d

26 August, 2009 09:54  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

Thank you! that was wonderful of you, interesting, and gratefully received. (glad to give you a good reason to talk with angelika too)

i went trying to find more, and possibly it's about a teenaged boy's encounter with a prostitute where they both end up dead.

26 August, 2009 11:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't connect it with Leonid Andreyev's short story, which sounds great, or with Afgrunden, the 1910 danish movie ( youtube the Abyss - erotic dance from 1910 ), which looks great too.
But the most important! Angelika happens to be Ukrainian, NOT Russian! We still talk.d

26 August, 2009 12:22  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

ah. oh well. i was trying to make sense of the image.

and i, by the way, am half belarusian!

26 August, 2009 12:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a conspiracy.d

26 August, 2009 12:43  
Blogger lotusgreen said...


don't tell anyone

26 August, 2009 13:47  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

by the way, d-- i am hoping the fires are far from your door....

26 August, 2009 23:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of those forests had already been replanted on a large scale in the past and are now burning for the second time, for the sake of illegal urban projects which will be legalized, of course. Primitive people, primitive methods. It's a less and less interesting place. Here it's fine, we are surrounded by water and tasty octopii, which we enjoy remorseless.d

27 August, 2009 00:02  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

it's sad to think of these atrocities occurring around the world, yes. but i'm glad you're okay.

27 August, 2009 10:47  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Lotusgreen-- O my goodness.

I blush to confess that over the past month I have not stopped by as regularly as I used to. Obviously I need to correct that.

02 October, 2009 13:49  
Blogger lotusgreen said...


have i curled the toes of the apatoff??!

thanks, david

02 October, 2009 14:59  
Blogger Siobhan.D said...

WoW! Thanks. I enjoyed this so much. I am now quite sated...with laughter of course. ;-)

27 November, 2011 14:40  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

clearly a good dish with which to follow turkey :^)

27 November, 2011 18:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The russian poster is actually for a silent film of a boy and a prostitute, and nothing to do with the tale, but some of the others i've never seen. Lovely!

09 March, 2012 13:46  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you for adding this information!

11 March, 2012 12:21  

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