Interview with Gengoroh Tagame

●Please let me know how you liked holding your first private exhibition in a Japanese gallery.

A: Since a lot more people than I thought visited, I got an enthusiastic response and was impressed.

Matsuri-a-Go-Go! by Gengoroh Tagame

Matsuri-a-Go-Go! by Gengoroh Tagame

●What is art? What is pornography? Where is the borderline between them?

A: From my point of view, the thing that touches human souls is art, and the thing that causes penile erections is pornography. These two things are based on very different premises and directionalities.
For me, therefore, the two concepts of art and pornography cannot be compared. It is pointless to view these two as a clash or to search for the borderline between them. Such things oppose my philosophy as an artist. A piece of work can be an art. At the same time, it can also be pornography.
Furthermore, the fusion of these two things is the ideal that I am always searching for.

Chuchincho Botan by Gengoroh Tagame

Chuchincho Botan by Gengoroh Tagame

●When was your work or illustrations concerning gay people first published? What magazine was it?

A: In 1982, although my pen-name was different, my manga depicting incest and murder between a father and a son was first published in the magazine”June”, which was an aestheticism magazine for girls.

●When and where do you conceive the plots for your manga?

A: Anywhere. At my desk, in bed, in the toilet, in the bathroom, on the train, in a restaurant, anywhere, anytime.

Benki by Gengoroh Tagame

Benki by Gengoroh Tagame

●What do you think about today’s Japanese gay manga and illustration scene?

A: I think Japanese gay culture itself is at a crisis point, unfortunately. Especially in the gay market, there are many troubles such as the decline of the magazine industry, the epidemic of
illegal downloading including copyright infringement and the character issues of those engaged in gay business. Such troubles often impede artists’ activities regardless of their motivation, intention and abilities. In fact, I suffered from some such troubles in recent years and have heard more than five of young artists’ worries about these kinds of troubles in the last six months. I think that in spite of the fact that talented highly-motivated artists have been appearing one after another, the situation within the gay art scene itself has become more difficult.

●What do you think about the Boys Love manga market?

A: The scale of the Boys Love manga market is originally much bigger than the gay market. As readership has expanded, the Boys Love market has begun to exhibit a diversity, absorbing gay manga that used to be omitted from the genre. Furthermore, it is true that readers of Boys Love, mostly, women are sustaining the sales of publications for the gay market. As previously mentioned, since the gay market itself is now endangered, it can be said that the role played by the Boys Love market is larger than people outside imagine.

Muma by Gengoroh Tagame

Muma by Gengoroh Tagame

●Quite a lot of female fans visited the exhibition this time. What do you think about that?

A: Although I was a little surprised, I was pleased and it was a discovery for me too because I felt that my work was being recognized by a broad range of people.

●Is there any gay artist you think interesting now?

A: There is nothing special.

●Do you have a partner or a boy friend?

A: I have a partner. We have been living together for 17 years.

●What kind of men do you like?

A: Although I am attracted by various men, I like a burly, hairy, good looking men with a little rugged face the most. My ideal sex partner is a master of sadism who can break a slave in strictly or a masochistic macho slave who can endure pain.

G58 The Top Man by Gengoroh Tagame

G58 The Top Man by Gengoroh Tagame

●Do you have any fetishs?

A: I have many fetishs, but if I have to choose one, I will probably choose facial hair.

●Do you have any hobbies besides working as a cartoonist?

A: Composition(music), traveling and watching movies.

●What food do you like?

A: While I do not have a particular favorite food, cold Japanese green-tea is a must. I do not drink juices and mineral water so much, and I do not drink alcohol at all. I drink coffee, but I do not always need it. I sometimes drink tea and Chinese-tea, however, cold Japanese green-tea is really necessary in my life.

●Is the content of your work a reflection of your fantasy or desire? Or are you drawing on the basis of some message?

A: I always draw what I want to see or read. However, it is not always what I want to actually do. Thus, if I am asked whether I project my wishes onto a piece of work, the answer is no although the basis of my work is a reflection of my fantasy. Moreover, while remaining true to the fundamental ideas of my genre, I always add some sort of theme or message to each individual work. I am, especially when drawing manga, focusing on creating multilayered work that can be read from various angles. While each individual reader may decide which layer or level she/he enjoys a piece of work, I aim to create work which is a complex of various layers. And layers I set besides eroticism vary from work to work. It can sometimes be a psychological drama like love and hate, or my view toward society, or a pure attempt of literary rendering in the medium of manga.

Ginjiro Shibaritatehiza by Gengoroh Tagame

Ginjiro Shibaritatehiza by Gengoroh Tagame

●Please tell me your schedule of publication and activities in the future.

A: I am now serialising manga in 2 magazines “Badi” and “Nikutaiha”. I will probably stay this way for a while. And, my latest independent manga book “Wappa-jigoku・Oyako-jigoku”(Boy in hell, Father and Son in Hell, and other stories) will be published by POTTO SHUPPAN in December.

Konjaku Tengu by Gengoroh Tagame

Konjaku Tengu by Gengoroh Tagame