Gengoroh Tagame

Gengoroh Tagame
Gengoroh Tagame in Paris, 2015
Born (1964-02-03) February 3, 1964
Nationality Japanese
Known for Gay erotic manga
Notable work Pride, My Brother's Husband

Gengoroh Tagame (田亀 源五郎, Tagame Gengorō, born 3 February 1964[1]) is an openly gay[2] Japanese manga artist, one of the most influential creators in the field of manga for gay male readers.[3] The bulk of his work has consisted of bara-themed erotic manga, depicting BDSM and graphic violence, featuring hypermasculine and often bearish men. His later work includes the all-ages family dramas My Brother's Husband and Our Colors.


Born into a family descended from samurai,[4] Tagame began his career as a manga artist in 1982 while studying graphic design at Tama Art University (多摩美術大学). On a trip to Europe, he discovered the American hardcore S&M gay magazine Drummer featuring drawings by Bill Ward, who made a strong impression on his art.[5] He began publishing erotica under the pen name Gengoroh Tagame in 1986, and since 1994 he has lived off the profits of his art and writings.[1] Tagame's works have been published in several Japanese gay magazines, including Sabu,[1] G-men and SM-Z.[2]

His works contain "virile males, or youths, and their apprenticeship of physical and mental submission".[1] Notable works include Jujitsu Kyoshi at B Product; Emono, Shirogane no Hana (3 vol.) and Pride (3 vol.) at G-Project.[1] Pride focuses on a masculine power top who is discovered by his even more masculine professor to harbor masochistic tendencies, and trains him to be submissive through harsh domination. Naburi mono, ("Laughing stock") serialised in G-Men in 1994, is about a yakuza strongman who falls in love with a wrestler he has been ordered to kidnap, ending with their ritualistic suicide together.[6]

Tagame is additionally noted as an archivist of gay Japanese erotica, and has edited a two volume artbook series about the history of gay erotic art in Japan from the 1950s to the present, 日本のゲイ・エロティック・アート (Nihon no gei, erotikku āto, Gay Erotic Art in Japan).[1][7][8]

In the mid-2010s, Tagame began creating all-ages manga in addition to his erotic works. His first all-ages work was Otouto no Otto (弟の夫, My Brother's Husband), serialized in Futabasha's Monthly Action magazine in Japan and published in English by Pantheon Books.[9] The series received universal acclaim, and has been awarded excellence awards at the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2015,[10] and the Japan Cartoonists Association Award in 2018.[11] In March 2018, Monthly Action began serialization of Bokura No Shikisai (僕らの色彩, Our Colors), Tagame's second all-ages manga.[12]


Tagame has been called the most influential creator of gay manga in Japan to date,[3] and "the most talented and most famous author of sado-masochistic gay manga".[4] His depiction of men as muscular and hairy has been cited as a catalyst for a shift in fashion amongst gay men in 1995, away from the clean-shaven and slender bishōnen stereotypes and towards a tendency for masculinity and chubbiness. Tagame's work has been criticised by gay manga writer Susumu Hirosegawa as "SM gekijō" (S&M theater) for its violence and lack of complex storylines.[3]


His manga Gunji (軍次) was translated into French in 2005, followed by Arena in 2006 and Goku in 2009. An artbook of his works has also been published in France by H&O Editions.[13] An exhibition of his works was held in France in May 2009.[4]

A small amount of Tagame's work has been published in English; a short story, "Standing Ovations", was included in the third issue of the erotic comics anthology Thickness,[14] and in July 2012, Picturebox announced a short story collection, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, for 2013 release.[15] The latter was the author's first North American and English-language collection and the first completely bara work published in English in a print format.[16][17] The book collects short works spanning 15 years of Tagame's career, including a new story commissioned for the book by book designer Chip Kidd. Endless Games was published in 2013 in an English translation by the German publisher the Bruno Gmünder Verlag. Gunji, Fisherman's Lodge (both 2014) and The Contracts of the Fall (2015) were published in English by the same publisher.

His work has also been featured in Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It (2014), "the first English-language overview of gay manga as a genre"[18] according to Graham Kolbeins, who edited the graphic novel from Fantagraphics Books along with Anne Ishii.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Marmonnier, Christian (2008). Nicolas Finet, ed. Dicomanga: le dictionnaire encyclopédique de la bande dessinée japonaise (in French). Paris: Fleurus. p. 524. ISBN 978-2-215-07931-6.
  2. 1 2 McLelland, Mark (2002). "Japanese Art". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  3. 1 2 3 Lunsing, Wim. Yaoi Ronsō: Discussing Depictions of Male Homosexuality in Japanese Girls' Comics, Gay Comics and Gay Pornography Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context Issue 12, January 2006 Accessed 12 August 2008.
  4. 1 2 3 Giard, Agnes (29 April 2009). "Les 400 culs: Le SM est-il transgressif?" (in French). Libération. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  5. see
  6. McLelland, Mark J. (October 12, 2000). Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan. Routledge. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-7007-1300-4.
  7. Tagame, Gengoroh (2003). Gay Erotic Art in Japan Vol. 1: Artists From the Time of the Birth of Gay Magazines. Potto Shuppan. ISBN 4-939015-58-0.
  8. Tagame, Gengoroh (2006). Gay Erotic Art in Japan Vol. 2: Transitions of Gay Fantasy in the Times. Potto Shuppan. ISBN 4-939015-92-0.
  9. "Pantheon to Publish Gengoroh Tagame's My Brother's Husband Manga". Anime News Network. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  10. "Akiko Higashimura's Kakukaku Shikajika Manga Wins Media Arts Award". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  11. "Daijiro Morohoshi's Manga Book Wins Japan Cartoonists Association Award". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  12. "New manga for all ages, Bokura No Shikisai (Our Colors) started on Monthly Action". Tagame's News in English. 1 April 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  14. "Thickness!". Thickness. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  15. Nadel, Dan. "The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame". PictureBox. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  16. "Gengoroh Tagame's Gay Bondage Manga Gets 1st English Collection". Anime News Network. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  17. Garrity, Shaenon K. (12 June 2014). "Ten Cent Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  18. Nichols, JamesMichael (2 February 2015). "'Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It,' Chronicles Gay Japanese Manga". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-13.

Further reading

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