Gay Erotic Art in Japan, Vol.1 is a collected history of the true...

Gay Erotic Art in Japan, Vol.1 is a collected history of the true pioneers of gay erotica in Japan.

This is a never-before attempted collection that includes over 140 quality color reprints of artwork by Go Mishima, Tatsuji Okawa, Sanshi Funayama, Hirano Go and artists from the influential “perverse magazine” Fuzokukitan like Toshimi Oda.

Each artist as well as their historic legacy of gay erotica is introduced by compilation editor and gay manga pioneer Gengoroh Tagame. These English-Japanese bilingual editions are each signed by the master, Tagame, and come in die-cut slipcases, packaged by the folks at Pot Publishing (also responsible for Tagame’s several re-issues, including Shirogane no Hana).

Signed copies available at MASSIVE

Illustrations by Sanshi Funayama (船山三四) Translated text from the...

Illustrations by Sanshi Funayama (船山三四)

Translated text from the second illustration, via Gengoroh Tagame’s art history book Gay Erotic Art in Japan vol. 1:

A police sergeant from the task force, Segawa Shingo, 27 years old, was a wild, dauntless, and beautiful boy. He had a well-balanced body 185cm tall and 95kg in weight, and a huge dick and balls that could produce and store lots of semen, suitable for his strong body. He was stripped naked. His semen was squeezed out. He was tortured by having his dick scraped out and his balls torn off while he was still alive. His body became a big piece of flesh. He stopped breathing in great pain. His meat tasted chewy and delicious. The strong dick was cooked when still erect and served together with his blood. It had an excellent flavor.

“Woahhhhh! Kill me! Kill me at once! Please…" 
"Look at that! The policeman is wasted!”

His anus was chopped into pieces and mixed with vinegar. It was even more delicious than sea-cucumber. Gelatin was injected into his dick. His blood mixed with it to make his dick hard. Then, it was scraped out.

His ball sack was cut open, while still connected to his body, and his balls taken out. They were squashed and made into “crashed balls.” Segawa fainted from the pain.

“He has got such a nice dick and ass.”
“After checking the tight ass thoroughly, we will cook him.”
“He makes such good noises. I am turned on by hearing his noises.”

The huge dick, called a “canon” or “horse-sized,” is the symbol of a man. It decorates his strong body.

Like Tatsuji Okawa and Go Hirano, Funayama’s work first appeared in Fuzokukitan magazine in the early 1960s. He also contributed to the small circulation magazine Bara and, later, Barazoku. But in the 1970s, Funayama “became an illusion” and fell silent for three decades until  sending in two final illustrations to G-men in 1999. 

Little is known about Funayama’s personal life, but the morsels Tagame was able to uncover for his essay in Gay Erotic Art in Japan are truly tantalizing: Funayama was a policeman – an occupation that was clearly one of the artist’s “greatest obsessions,” as evidenced by the frequency of cops appearing as “sacrificial offerings” in the artist’s marvelously uninhibited, torturous artwork.

From Tagame’s essay:

[Funayama] was married and had a daughter. When he worked the night shift, he drew and kept his work in his locker. I base this on a message on the backside of a drawing to Takakura Hajime, the editor-in-chief of Fuzokukitan, which says, “I completed this piece today because I was on the night shift.” He is also thought to model penises from clay, although none have been found. He knew Mishima Yukio and they used to see each other when Mishima went to Kansai. 

Funayama is one of Tagame’s favorite erotic artists. He admires the dynamic pencil work in particular, noting that Funayama “drew heavily on the paper, as if trying to sculpt. The massive pieces of flesh roll, lively and in motion.” Tagame characterizes the work as fearless and pure:

[…] I don’t really like the word ‘fine art,’ but the pureness of his art makes Funayama’s work fine indeed. 

The dynamism of Funayama’s work, its brightness as erotic art, can even be said to be so sensational when considered in its context. The sensation hasn’t faded. Sexuality is something that exists in every individual, and is the absolute rule that cannot be changed by logic or morals. Funayama’s work directly faces and accepts it as it is. His work is a supreme offering to his own sexuality. This must be one of the peaks in gay erotic art. 

Fuzokukitan (風俗奇譚) magazineCovers and pages from various issues...

Fuzokukitan (風俗奇譚) magazine
Covers and pages from various issues (1961-1966) 

Gengoroh Tagame paints a picture of the seminal Fuzokukitan’s impact on Japanese gay art in his primer on the genre, Gay Erotic Art in Japan vol. 1: Artists from the Time of the Birth of Gay Magazines.

The story of contemporary gay erotic art in Japan can start with the magazine Fuzokukitan (1960-1974). Fuzokukitan was a magazine that included all sorts of kinks, both male and female: S&M, fetishism, homosexuality, lesbianism, and transvestism. In short, it was for abnormal sexualities.

Fuzokukitan didn’t exist in a vacuum– it was just one of several popular hentai zasshi (“perverse magazines”). But unlike other hentai magazines, Fuzokukitan brazenly featured male nudes on its cover, including works by the American artist George Quaintance and Tom of Finland.

Even in the issues with images of women on the cover, the catch copy featured gay related articles such as “Sexual Desire: Pictures of Sodomy and Lesbos” (October 1961), “The Country of Sodom,” and “Graphic: The World of Sadism, Masochism and Homosexuals” (special extended issue, August 1963).

Tagame goes on to detail the contents of Fuzokukitan’s August 1962 issue (top left in the above gallery):

On the cover are two cowboys. One, a naked young man, is standing closer to us, and the other man, standing behind him, is making eye contact with him. If the viewer is gay, he will instantly get a sense of physical attraction basic to the construction of the picture. Though there is no credit to the artist, this piece is by the gay erotic artist George Quaintance, who was then an active contributor to an American "physique” magazines.

The frontispiece is four male nude pieces by Tom of Finland, who was also a “physique” magazine artist. The illustrations on the index page are similar. Then, there are sixteen gravure pages, and five out of the sixteen are of male nudes. Eleven pages of heterosexual frontispieces follow, then five pages of transvestites, and after the body in the middle section of the magazine, are eight pages of gay frontispieces. There are two gay articles out of six featured articles on “Cruel Stories of The War Front.” Of those seven essays and memorandums, three are gay and one is transvestite themed. One of the two serial novels has a gay theme, and there is a gay column and a transvestite column. What’s more, thirty seven out of fifty people with ads in the personal section are gay, more than half. As shown above, at least in this issue, over half of the contents are related to gay issues.

Many of the artists Tagame profiles in Gay Erotic Art in Japan first published their work in Fuzokukitan, including Tatsuji Okawa, Sanshi Funayama, Go Mishima and Go Hirano. By the late 1960s, these artists had moved on from the sexual smorgasbord of Fuzokukitan to publish their work in Bara, a small-circulation gay magazine, before finding a home at Barazoku, the first mass-market magazine for gay men.