Gengoroh Tagame is a Japanese manga artist who specializes in gay BDSM erotic manga, many of which depict graphic violence. The men he depicts are hypermasculine, and tend to be on the bearish side.
Born into a family descended from samurai, Tagame began his career as a manga artist in 1982, while he was studying graphic design at Tama Art University. His works have been published in several Japanese gay magazines, including Sabu, G-men and SM-Z. Since 1986, he has used the pen-name Gengoroh Tagame, and since 1994 Tagame has lived off the profits of his art and writings. In recent years, Tagame has edited a two volume artbook series about the history of gay erotic art in Japan from the 1950s to the present.
Tagame has been called the most influential creator of gay manga in Japan to date, and “the most talented and most famous author of sado-masochistic gay manga”. Most of his work first appeared in gay magazines and usually feature sexual abuse. Tagame’s 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.
A small amount of Tagame’s work has been licensed in English; a short story, “Standing Ovations”, was included in the third issue of the erotic comics anthology Thickness, and in July 2012, PictureBox announced a short story collection, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, for 2013 release, which will be the first completely bara work licensed in English. The book will collect short works spanning 15 years of Tagame’s career, including a new story commissioned especially for the book.