日本語版はこちらBad to the Bone: Erotic Grotesquerie
The exploration of grotesque subject matter in Japanese art traces back to ghastly scenes in narrative handscrolls from as early as the 12th century. In the 19th century, the popularity of grotesquerie as an aesthetic enjoyed a brief resurgence. Within this trend of “bloody prints” (muzan-e), the series Twenty-eight Famous Murders with Verse (Eimei nijūhasshūku, 1866–67) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892) and Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833–1904) was particularly memorable.
Over the course of the Edo period (1615–1868), works of erotic grotesquerie had a similar sensibility. Artists such as Okumura Masanobu (1686–1764) produced humorous yet unsettling scenes of middle-aged widows (goke) in pursuit of glamorous, young men, and about a century later, the print designer Yanagawa Shigenobu I (1787–1832) produced heinous images of sexual assault.
In the 1930s, the term ero-guro-nansensu (erotic grotesque nonsense) was coined by the author Hirai Tarō (1894–1965, known also by the pen name Edogawa Rampo) to describe his own works. After the Pacific War (1941–1945), the genre of erotic grotesquerie was revitalized by manga artists such as Saeki Toshio (b. 1945) and Maruo Suehiro (b. 1956). Their work has enjoyed phenomenal popularity ever since.