Who is Katou Kahoru? Basically, we know almost nothing about him, not even when and where he was born, or what his real name is. The internet tells us he is the author of a book called A Titanic Orphan (Fig. 01 to 33), whose publisher and year of publication are unknown, at least to this poor author who spent hours and hours without getting any kind of information about him. The only certainty is that several images of this book circulate on the internet and can be found on sites dedicated to kinbaku or hentai websites.
The Death of the Author
Katou Kahoru is a prime example of what French theorist Roland Barthes called The Death of the Author: “The Author, when he is believed, is always conceived as the past of his own book: the book and the author place themselves along the same line, distributed as a before and an after: the Author is supposed to feed the book, that is to say, he exists before it, thinks, suffers, lives with it; he has the same predecessor relationship with it that a father has with his child. On the contrary, the modern writer is born at the same time as his text; he is in no way provided with a being that would precede or exceed his writing, he is in no way the subject that his book would be the predicate of; there is no other time than that of enunciation, and the entire text is eternally written here and now”.
The images that make up the book A Titanic Orphan are exactly the affirmation of that time that Barthes tells us about. Although its characters are reminiscent of Victorian-era, girls and the clothes appear to be representations of those worn between 1850 and 1910, the genre to which Katou Kahoru is dedicated, the spanking novel, whose main features are stories aimed at spanking women in the most varied ways, is still read today and finds a considerable number of admirers, asserting itself in the here and now of limitless obsessions.
The Story of O
In the 1960s and 1970s, with censorship regulation of what North-American law considered obscene, several publishers, such as Corinth Publications, Taurus Press, Black Cat Books, Gargoyle Press, and Eros Publishing Co, began to publish works of a fetishist nature. In the 1980s, Blue Moon Books, from New York, became one of the largest publishers specializing in fetish literature, with reprints of classics such as The Story of O (1954) and Victorian and Edwardian era novels.
Marquis de Sade
Thus, Katou Kahoru's narrative does not differ much from the 19th and 20th century classics when it comes to the use of spanking-related archetypes, as his book follows the misadventures of a young orphan whose parents died in the sinking of the Titanic, in an orphanage where she is subjected to various types of sex-related torture and humiliation. If, for example, the engravings produced by the Marquis de Sade himself for his books rely a lot on references to the text to be interpreted, the images produced by Katou Kahoru take on a life of their own in the moment they represent, through drawings made with pen and ink and some parts colored in red, situations where perversity unfolds independently of a larger narrative.
Emphasize the Lust
Each drawing, in this sense, is like a micro-narrative where the information is condensed to the maximum in the punishment applied to the orphan, without the artist giving up on the details of the clothes and sets, which end up giving the scene a theatrical aspect. The red and pink applied to some details of these scenes further emphasize the lust. In the images that make up A Titanic Orphan, as well as in another series that seems to be about the old west, it is possible to perceive that there the artist dedicates himself far more to integrate the mise in scene with the punishments applied to defenseless young women than in other works of his, which are conditioned to narrative references in the pornographic magazines they were published in .
Although the theme of spanking is a constant in his work, each series created by Katou Karohu takes on its own identity through specific traits, the strong contrast between black and white or the chiaroscuro technique, so that we have the feeling of being meeting images of an artist who always renews what he does.
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