Interview with Masahiro Yamanaka

Masahiro Yamanaka is a Japanese artist whose works are based on the life and times of Shinjuku 2 chome (a gay street in Tokyo). He exhibited his work at our exhibition for Mardis Gras, ‘Boys Life’. His works are not erotic, but showcase different aspects of Japanese gay life, giving a picture of the dramas occurring at the same time, moment and place. He shows peoples kindness and a message of love through his works. Cute colours and a humorous style are his features.

We were lucky enough to interview Masahiro recently!

Pink Weekend by Masahiro Yamanaka

Pink Weekend by Masahiro Yamanaka

Why did you become an illustrator?

I was drawing illustrations and uploading them onto my website for a while, just for my enjoyment when  I was offered an illustration job by a visitor to my site..

Was there a clear massage in your work Shinjuku 2 chome which featured in our exhibition?

I exhibited this work at a one man show in the community centre ‘akta’ in Shinjuku 2 chome. It displays emotions such as crying, laughing, and being angry. I love Shinjuku 2 chome where different people come and show their dramas. I wanted to draw this place from my point of view, so I did.

In my solo exhibition, this illustration was accompanied by about 50 smaller illustrations focusing on each person in the artwork. I had an image that 2 chome is pink, so I painted the whole work that colour.

I understand you’re doing commercial work at the moment. Do you intend to expand your job in the gay market?

I sometimes do jobs for gay events and LGBT organizations, so I would be happy if they can continue to use my illustration.

What do you think of Japanese gay community?

I only know the Japanese gay community, but I feel comfortable.

Do you often go out to Shinjuku 2 chome and have fun there? What sort of bar do you go to?

I often go there as I feel at home. I frequently go to the dining bar where I can enjoy a fine meal.

Can you tell me your latest main job?

I did lot of works for Kisekae-Tool (dress-up tool), educational booklets, and event flyers. Posters and booklets about HIV or LGBT, and websites, too.

Do you have any kind of fetish?

I like the fat guy who still has the look of a naughty boy.

What’s on the horizon?

I’d like to improve my drawing skill. I will draw more illustrations and hope that more people will see my works. In addition, I’d like to launch my own brand with my illustration.


  1. Chris wrote:

    I’d like to see more work of this artist. Can you give a link to his website or any webpage that shows his works?

  2. Masa wrote:

    This is his web site but only Japanese.
    His new art works coming soon so I will be posted up on my blog soon too.