Homoerotic Asian men on Tumblr

Queer Arts on Tumblr – Presentations by saruisamu

My regular readers know I have a soft spot for homoerotic arts, particularly photography. I indeed am one of those believing that the best homoerotic photography is made in black and white. It is also true that I will present some homoerotic photos in colour. These represent my other soft spot – homoerotic images of Asian men.

There are notable differences between ways of displaying homoerotic arts in different cultures. Asian approach to exposing homoeroticism and related arts differs from that in Europe and North America. And that is despite a media dominated by European and American arts and artists.

A new book attempts to shine a light on homosexuality and queerness in Japan

In 2013, Sara Giannini and Jacopo Miliani were in Tokyo to attend a performance program organised by the research group OuUnPo. On their very last night in the city, they discovered a homoerotic photo story from 1978 sitting on the shelf of a small sex shop in Shinjuku Ni-chōme. The cover showed two men. They were set against the sea, touching each other intimately. Inside, an illustrated story of love and desire began to unfold curiously and compellingly.

“In Japan, any visual representation of sex organs is scratched away, blurred, or masked. This photo story, however, performed a different kind of omission. Ocean waves or seagulls were subtly used to cover, yet reveal, the organ of male love [and] the obstructions imposed by censorship were triggers of sensual desire, complicating the relationship between the seen and the unseen. The author of the magazine remains a mystery. According to what we have been told, it may be the work of underground photographer Kurō Haga. The founder of BON magazine.”

Intrigued, Giannini and Miliani began a journey into a world wholly foreign to their own, one which has culminated in the publication of Whispering Catastrophe: On the Language of Men Loving Men in Japan (SelfPleasurePublishing in collaboration with OuUnPo).

Tumblr has changed significantly after the change of ownership a couple of years ago. Immediately after that change, the company imposed stringent policies regarding not only pornography but nudity as well. A knee-jerk move pushed that platform from one extreme to the other. Consequently, many content creators left that platform

Saruisamu posts of homoerotic (not nude) photos on Tumblr

After that change, I stopped using my Tumblr account but did not close it. Then I started checking it out occasionally, and it seems that Tumblr has softened its rules. It was not necessary to search for nude or pornographic content there anyway. However, “sanitising” that platform was wrong in my mind. While browsing, I stumbled upon the account named “saruisamu”, publishing arguably homoerotic photos of young Asin men. This might be worth checking out for those who are into Asian men.

I don’t think the owner of this account is also the author of the photos he displays. However, I was pleased to find pictures of some famous Asian photographers who are true masters of homoerotic photography.

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