Full translation of the ARTE TV Tracks segment on Gengoroh...

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Full translation of the ARTE TV Tracks segment on Gengoroh Tagame, generously submitted by hidingbehindyourstuff. Thank you kindly!!

So your post appeared on my dash and since arte broadcasts both in French and German (meaning I could translate) I thought it would be too bad not to.


We stay entertained with our next guest, the master of gay manga.

Hairy men, strongly muscled, gay SM orgy and oversized genitals… here is what the world looks like according to Gengoroh Tagame.

And here is what the man looks like himself, surprised by the rain.

At the age of 50, Gengoroh Tagame is an international reference in a seldom seen artistic domain : the homosexual pornographic manga.

“I always draw situations that touch me emotionally, I also feel a kind of spirituality when I draw a bit like the religious artists of ancient times, to whom art was a tribute to the gods.”

We won’t know what the gods think of Tagame’s drawings - but they did give him his talent.

In Japan he has had for a long time the honors of respectable galleries. After art studies at the very elitist Tama art school in Tokyo, Tagame became artistic director for an advertisement agency. In the 90’s, he abandoned everything in favour of drawing and becomes the icon of the gay manga scene.

“My recipe is extremely simple with time I came to realize that many things that excited me sexually also excited my fans. I just have to draw what I like. It’s the key to success. Up to now, it’s been working.”

In the Japanese gay community, Tagame is a super star ; his works fill the shelves of homo book shops. In the meantime, his art is exposed in the galleries in the US, Germany or France. Up to now, Tagame has published 19 books, part of which is being sold in English and French.

Gay manga have a rich history in Japan ; they are called “bara” mangas. “Bara” means rose and the first Japanese gay magazine was called “Barazoku”. Founded in 1971, it is also the first to publish drawings. At the time they were only being shipped through mail, stealthily packed - one needed a membership to receive them.

“From the start, bara mangas were erotic and especially activist. Through their stories, the authors were trying to publish their own experiences to the next generation. The stories also touched theme like everyday life and the search for social status.”

The gay district of Tokyo in Shinjuku shows that such status is far from being reached. In this area, homosexuals are not discriminated against. But outside, many avoid making a coming out. The typical Japanese doesn’t like to get noticed, which explains the country being relatively late in areas like gay marriage.

“It is not in the Japanese mindset to defend one’s own interest too aggressively. It goes against the ideal of a harmonious society. This thinking isn’t helping with achieving rights of sexual minorities.”

The work of sensitization done by artists like Gengoroh Tagame is then even more important. Even if the master doesn’t feel the same need to create as 20 years ago, he doesn’t imagine a future without drawing.

“I wish to continue what I have started. I have never done anything else since my childhood. I do see that I am ageing, my eyes are not the same, god only knows why.”

“But I wont stop ; I will continue to give the best of myself.”