Gengoroh Tagame’s speech from opening night

I really appreciated Gengoroh Tagame’s visiting Sydney for the Mardis Gras, especially his presence at the opening night and the speech he gave. Thanks! Below is Mr. Tagame’s speech from opening night.

Mr. Tagame’s opening night speech

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

First, I am sorry for my bad english, I’m not good at english, especially speaking. This evening, I’m so happy that I can join this reception. About 2 years ago, I got a contact from Mr Takagi, the planner of this exhibition. And on last Mardi Gras, I sent my works on the exhibition like today’s, but I myself couldn’t go there. But on this year’s exhibition, as you can see, I’m here. And can enjoy these wonderful artworks, as same as you. So, I want to say thank you to Mr Takagi, to plan the marvellous exhibition, and also thanks for Ms Nihei, of Mayumi International, And Mr Dunne, the owner of the gallery.

Even in Japan, it is rare chance to be able to see such a great collection of Japanese gay art. On last spring, I organized the exhibition of Japanese vintage gay erotic art, at the gallery in Tokyo. Then, on this time, I introduced Mr Takagi to Mr Ito, who was a publisher of Japanese first commercial based gay magazine, and also has a big collection of Japanese vintage gay art. And today, there are some legendary maestros’ works on the wall. Some were drawn in 1950’s, and the others were 60’s and 70’s.

When I started to draw gay erotic arts by myself, it was about 30 years ago, most of these maestros’ works were already forgotten. But when I became a full time artist, it was about 20 years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to meet some art collectors, and was able to touch these forgotten artists’ works. To meet these unknown artists, I had a sense of crisis, that the treasures of Japanese gay culture were being vanished. And also, I was discontented that nobody mind about a cultural value of Japanese gay erotic arts. Then, I began a new gay magazine by myself, with my friends. On the first issue, I declared that I’m going to dig up the forgotten gay erotic arts in past, and spotlight them again. On the other hand, I also declared that I’m going to find new talents, to make Japanese gay culture richer. The gay magazine’s name that I started is “G-men”

So, on today, I can see several artists’ works who are so familiar for me. For example, Go Hirano was one of my maestro, when I was only a reader of the gay magazines yet. About Tatsuji Okawa and Minoru Toyama, I knew ther works through the art collector who I met in 20 years ago. When I started my career as an artist, Ben kimura and Hideki Koh both were cover artists of Japanese gay magazines. Few year later than me, Seizoh Ebisubasi started his career, on same magazine. Then, we know each other for over 20 years, and still now, we are good friends. On “G-men” magazine, I had a column of the gateway to success for young artists. Jirauya and Yamato Saimon was started their career through the column. And about the other artists, I’ve enjoyed ther works on magazines and exhibitions.

So, to see this exhibition, I’m very happy that I can know that I could do small help to make Japanese gay culture more valuable. And I’m proud for I’m joining with them. Now, about past artists, I already wrote 2 book about the history of Japanese gay erotic art, so their names and works will never be forgotten again, even in future. Today, I carry these books. If Mr Takagi say “Yes”, I’m going to put these books on somewhere in the gallery. If you have some interests about Japanese vintage gay erotic arts, please open the books freely. All texts are written in both of Japanese and English, so may be no problem to read them for everyone here.

About the contemporary and future artists, unfortunately, I already moved out from “G-men” magazine 4 year ago. Frankly speaking, I did not resign. The magazine was taken over by villains, and I was kicked out. So I don’t touch the magazine now, and no longer cultivate young talents. But the artists who I’ve met are still publishing their wonderful works. I’m glad to see them.

Again, as I told, this is very rare chance to be able to see the originals of Japanese gay erotic arts from past to present. I hope you’ll enjoy this great exhibition, and this exhibition will be much welcomed by the people of Australia.

Thank you.