Tagame Gengoroh (b. 1964)
Beards and Flesh
Japan, 2009
Paperback book (manga), ink and color on paper
Copyright: Tagame Gengoroh
Anonymous gift

Though gay male artists in contemporary Japan explore a variety of ways in which to discuss their sexuality, the genre of bara manga (literally, ‘rose manga’)—illustrated narratives specifically intended for a gay, male audience—has emphasized an aesthetic remarkably unlike that of BL (acronym for “boys’ love”) manga such as the works of est em (b. 1981), which are displayed nearby. Bara manga frequently depict sexual encounters as dramatic, violent, and even sadistic. Flesh and Beard typifies this trend: Tagame forces his burly characters to endure outlandishly elaborate rites of bondage, domination, and sadomasochism (BDSM).