The Japanese artist Kasuga Akira (real name Dōmae Shōichi, born in 1926 in Tokyo.) was a pupil of Dan Oniroku a Japanese author who has been called, "the most celebrated writer of popular SM novels in Japan". It was thanks to Dan, who always provided him with illustration work for his SM King magazine, that he caused a furore during the "golden age" of SM magazines.
Soon this great artisan was working for most of the major SM publishing houses. Kasuga was a skilled illustrator specialized in bijin-ga (female beauty), a popular genre that originated in the ukiyo-e art of the Edo era (1603-1867). Bijin-ga depicted the stylish and alluring women who worked as geisha, illustrated ideas of feminine beauty and/or were used to display elegant textiles and patterns.
Such prints were then used by the vendors of fabrics and kimonos to advertise their wares. Kasuga Akira was a serious student of this specialty and studied under the renowned modern bijin-ga master Iwata Sentaro, an artist who today is much sought after by collectors.
In Kasuga's skilled hands this tradition of depicting feminine beauty became an erotic examination of SM voluptuousness, usually depicted from the woman's point of view and as pure pleasure. Seldom is violence depicted in the work, even when such a scene could be justified by the story he was illustrating. Instead, his lovely impressionistic sketches usually convey the languid sexual contentment of his beautiful, romantically bound women.
Favorite SM Images
In the 1970s and 1980s Kasuga Akira illustrated several of the better quality SM novels of the time and in the 1990s he was featured in a book of Dan Oniroku's favorite SM images published by the Alligator magazine corporation. He also illustrated several modern erotic SM novels published by Green Door Bunko. This resulted in a small but elegant album of his beautiful shibari/ kinbaku. SM artwork being published in 1993, also by Green Door. Shortly after this Kasuga Akira retired from SM illustration.
The images below include some enticing examples of Kasuga's hand-drawn kinbaku illustrations...
Song of the Leopard
Hand-Drawn Illustration for the story "Song of a female leopard" (Fig.7). The 9th illustration of Dan Oniroku's "Song of the Leopard", which was serialized in SM Select magazine for a long time in the latter half of the 1980s.
Sources: The Beauty of Kinbaku by Master "K", corporalsteiner.tumblr.com, Pinterest
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