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. In 2013 PictureBox released the short story collection, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, which was the first completely bara work licensed in English. It was put together with the help of MASSIVE and Chip Kidd. Since then German publisher has translated the stories Endless Games, Gunji, and Fisherman’s Lodge. Tagame is also featured in the book Massive: Gary Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It from Fantagraphics and MASSIVE.