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September 3, 2021

Collection of Sexual Aids in a Storage Wooden Box, Japan, Early Twentieth Century

Here’s a set of woman’s ‘toilet’ implements for sexual gratification, consisting of six dildoes and penis supports, two rings (rin no wa, namako no wa) and metal ball (rin no tama). Made of horn, metal. In wooden storage box.

Phalluses were often made in stone and wood, and presented as offerings to shrines as part of phallic cults to pray for good harvests and fertility in the family. They were also positioned at the boundaries of village settlements.

Even today, phalluses are often used at local festivals. Of course there is a clear distinction between the phalluses that were used for religious rituals and the dildos that were used for daily use. The pieces in the above set were for practical use. They are called, ‘laughing devices’ (warai dōgu) to emphasize the close connection between sex and laughter.

These are all examples of Japanese sex toys that are featured in certain shunga designs. Included are buffalo horn-made dildos (ushizō), tortoiseshell (kamezō) and wood (mokuzō). The hollow dildo (centre) could have cotton wadding soaked in hot water placed inside it, the hot water making the dildo soft and warm. Another striking toy is called ‘Dōkyō’s armor and helmet’ (Dōkyō no yoroi-kabuto), named after the monk Dōkyō (d.AD 772), of whom it was said that he was the lover of Empress Kōken (AD 718-70). It was worn on the penis to give it a ribbed texture.

The ‘armor’ was worn on the shaft of the penis and the ‘helmet’ over the glans. In this set we can see two kinds: in one, the armor and helmet are separate (left); in the other, they form a single piece (right). There are also two examples of rings, with knobbles on them worn around the penis: these are known, literally, as  secret rings to make women cry’ (himenaki-wa).

It is apparent from these real examples of sex toys that they were made by craftsmen of great skill. Such sets were still made into the early twentieth century.

(via British Museum)


  1. Hello, genius site master? These are clearly not for women, they are for MEN. They are not dildos, they are sheaths and cages designed to be worn over the penis. You can't be this naive, can you?

  2. The British Museum describes them as for women, I guess they know what they're talking about!

  3. Uh why NOT for BOTH sex partners & self pleasure




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