GagaOOLala original docuseries Queer Asia turns its lens to Japan this week. The Queer Asia team had the rare opportunity to interview Gengoroh Tagame, the world-renowned male erotic manga artist and the creator of the mange that inspired 2018’s most controversial Japanese TV series, My Brother's Husband. The series became an instant hit for not only its dreamy cast but also the sensitive issues it dealt with, such as same-sex marriage, gender education and family values. The series follows the relationship between single father Yaichi, his daughter Kana, and Mike Flanagan, the Canadian husband of Yaichi's twin brother, recently deceased. Unlike any of Tagame’s previous works, focused on BDSM and erotica, My Brother's Husband deals with homophobia, cultural differences and family.
Before My Brother's Husband, Tagame's works focus a lot on male body and BDSM.
Gengoroh Tagame is known as the Tom of Finland of Japan. He is celebrated around the world for his hardcore, violent, visceral, and always provocative style. All his works feature "virile men and their apprenticeship of physical and mental submission", expect for My Brother's Husband, a story he started conceiving in 2010 and put to fruition in 2014. It is his very first non-R-rated manga and has since collected many awards, including an Eisner Award and a Japan Media Arts Award.
The cast of My Borther's Husband shares many similarities with the original manga.
Tagame, now 54, shared his sexual awakening in Queer Asia - Japan. He was exposed to SM culture at an early age in primary school when he first read Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom. When he fell in love with a classmate in high school, he was finally able to confirm his sexual orientation as a gay man. However, he did not find any of the Boy Love romance from manga attractive or exciting. It was the straight SM magazines that fascinated him before discovering the American hardcore S&M gay magazine Drummer. Since then, he has delved into the world of gay erotic manga.
Tagame is celebrated around the world for his hardcore, violent, visceral, and always provocative style.
Given that My Brother's Husband was such a great departure from his established style, many readers are curious about the reason behind it. When being asked about this juncture, Tagame answered, “It's rare in Japan to see out-of-the-closet gays. Even if you don't have gay friends, you can still resonate with gays and understand the reality of being gay via my work. This is my original intention.” Perhaps growing older has made him realize of his responsibility as a gay man with a strong voice in Japan. Tagame used the power behind his art to create a safe environment for the LGBTQ community to engage in conversations with the conservative Japanese society. The same way Queer Asia aims to promote and celebrate diversity through the power of authentic LGBTQ stories.
Tagame shares about his sexual awakening and juncture behind creating My Brother's Husband.
Watch Gengoroh Tagame’s full interview and the rest of episode of Queer Asia for FREE on GagaOOLala. The platform is available in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.