Ozuma Kaname and His Tortured Tattooed Beauties
29 november 2017 
29 min. read

Ozuma Kaname and His Tortured Tattooed Beauties

The extremely talented and prolific Japanese artist Ozuma Kaname, born in Niigata in 1939, was trained in classical Japanese painting by his uncle Sakai Soushi. From all artists from the ‘Golden age’ SM era, his work is by far most published. This is perhaps not so surprising as, in Ozuma’s art, three different specialties come together in one beautiful image: the sensuous seme-e (kinbaku pictures) scene, the bijin-ga (beauty pictures), and the irezumi (tattoo) masterpiece. His images are mainly inspired on the traditional subjects to which he adds beautifully tattooed (wabori) female figures tied-up in inescapable poses.

Tattooed girl tied to a snowy tree hanging upside down by Ozuma Kaname

Fig.1.

SM Magazines

Ozuma Kaname attended Art College in Niigata but had to leave prior to graduation as he was forced to accept any assignment in order to make ends meet. He did this by illustrating for SM magazines in the early 1970s , and became a popular contributor to acclaimed magazines like SM Select, SM Collector and SM King.

Kita Reiko

Early in his career Ozuma examined various styles and often mimicked more well-known artists like Kita Reiko. But over time as he became more skilled in his art, his originality and breathtaking imagination started to attract a large audience. It was in the late 1970s that he began to combine his skills with seme-e and irezumi and started to produce his signature style of picture; Edo era maidens with flowing black hair, covered in glorious, colorful irezumi and bound with thick hemp rope in sensuous poses of rapture, shame or torment.

Tied tattooed girl sitting on a snowy branch by ozuma kaname

Fig.2.

Irezumi

Although Ozuma mastered the art of Japanese traditional tattooing, called irezumi, he himself became a huge inspiration for contemporary tattoo-artists. Especially his second book, published in 1995, is now an important reference. In a review on one his exhibitions in The Loving Living Gallery (2015) I read that when you examine Ozuma’s paintings on silk in real-life, the detail is incredible. The female protagonists are largely depicted in submissive poses, with the male (if present) dominating, holding the female figures down in position.

Genital Area

The female figures are large, round and graceful. All characters are Japanese. The nudes feature flowing lines moving down the entire body including genital area. The private parts are always subtly hidden by twigs, ropes, a kitten (Fig.4), water (Fig.5) or simply by the pose in which the body is presented to the viewer.

ozuma kaname: tattooed female seeing from the side

Fig.3. (Source: Terrienseul)

Horiyoshi III

Ozuma’s paintings were a major influence on the work of the popular tattoo artist Horiyoshi III (1946). In return, Horiyoshi’s clients were frequently used as models for his paintings. He signed his work only with his family name.

Jigsaw Puzzles

His depictions of dragons and Buddhist deities can not only be found in the tattoo subculture but also in mainstream Japanese culture (such as jigsaw puzzles and postcards). This is quite an accomplishment since tattoos have a bad stigma in Japan. Ozuma Kaname’s tattoo paintings are seen as masterpieces among irezumi connoisseurs.

Kuniyoshi

At the end of his life he was every bit as famous a designer of tattoos as he was an SM artist and was acknowledged as standing in direct descent from Utagawa Kuniyoshi, the early 19th century ukiyo-e master who first popularized the art of irezumi with his prints series ‘The 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden‘ (1827-30).

tied girl licked by a kitten ozuma kaname

Fig.4.

Humble

A striking characteristic of Ozuma was his great humility. In an autobiographical essay accompanying the art in his book ‘Tattooing‘, he commented that although he was pleased at the collection’s publication he was, ‘a little ashamed that they (the pictures) aren’t better.’ He concluded by saying, ‘As an ukiyo-e artist, I hope that his book will find its way into the hands of tattoo fans the world over, and show them at least one aspect of Japanese culture and tradition, art and technique. Nothing could please me more than this.’ This most renowned master died from cancer in 2011.

Tied girl lying in the water by ozuma kaname

Fig.5.

Tattooed girl tied to a chair with a drip to her ass by Ozuma Kaname

Fig.6.

Tied girl with giant dragon tattoo on her back by Ozuma Kaname

Fig.7.

Tied girl hanging over a tree with her head above a bucket of water by ozuma kaname

Fig.8.

Tied girl being whipped to her tattooed ass by ozuma kaname

Fig.9.

ozuma kaname tattoo

Fig.10.

Ozuma Kaname painting with a sensual nude beauty sporting a large tattoo

Fig.11. (Photo source: http://www.kwjhjgc.com/)

ozuma kaname: nude tattooed beauty in the snow

Fig.12.

nude beauty with a back and butt tattoo of a dragon by Ozuma Kaname

Fig.13.

nude beauty with a back tattoo of a female warrior by Ozuma Kaname

Fig.14.

Ozuma kaname: tied tattooed female hanging over the water

Fig.15.

Ozuma kaname: tattooed female sitting on a rock holding a fan

Fig.16.

ozuma kaname painting depicting a tattooed female tied to a pole in a shed

Fig.17.

ozuma kaname painting depicting a tattooed beauty tied to the ground with poles

Fig.18.

tattooed female with a tattooed female tattooed on her back by Ozuma Kaname

Fig.19.

Ozuma kaname: sitting female with spider tattoo on her back

Fig.20.

Ozuma Kaname tied girl

Fig.21.

Ozuma Kaname tied tattooed girl

Fig.22.

Ozuma Kaname girl in ropes

Fig.23.

Ozuma Kaname bdsm

Fig.24.

Ozuma Kaname bondage

Fig.25.

Ozuma Kaname tattoo art

Fig.26.

Ozuma Kaname bondage art

Fig.27.

Ozuma Kaname shibari

Fig.28.

The following video shows more amazing tattoo art by Ozuma Kaname:

Mijn film (Azuma Kaname)
Ozuma Kaname tattooed beauty

Fig.29.

ozuma kaname ropes

Fig.30.

tied girl ozuma kaname

Fig.31.

Ozuma Kaname tied woman

Fig.32.

ozuma kaname tattooed back

Fig.33.

ozuma kaname tattooed girl

Fig.34.

ozuma kaname tattooed nude

Fig.35.

tattooed nude in ropes art

Fig.36.

ozuma kaname tied to a cross

Fig.37.

ozuma kaname bondage art

Fig.38.

ozuma kaname tattoo art

Fig.39.

ozuma kaname torture

Fig.40.

Click HERE for ancient shunga art with tattooed protagonists or HERE to check out the corpulent mistresses of Namio Harukawa…!!

Source: ‘The Beauty of Kinbaku‘ by Master “K”

Who is your favorite Japanese bondage artist? Leave your reaction in the comment box below….!!

About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more than 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.
Anonymous
By

Anonymous

on 22 Jan 2018

Art is one thing but allowing zoophilia in art should be banned. Sexuality could and should be expressed without the use of an animal. I don’t get why people would like these kinds of ‘arts’ unless they are sickos who enjoy zoophilia. Very disgusting and disturbing!

zElement
By

zElement

on 17 Sep 2021

I wish I had seen this earlier - And I hope this person will find this ... I respect your opinion however I'd urge you to study seme-e history and context for better understanding. Ozuma (who only passed away in the last decade) drew on concepts, scenes, settings, and subjects not only from early Japanese art/history but also from the history of kinbaku itself. Which, in a very small, very simplistic nutshell evolved from the Samurai practice of Hojo-Jutsu and Edo-era policing and was used for takedown, capture, and transfer of prisoners – and most importantly – the torture of prisoners (male and female) for confessions of crimes. The construct of his imagery (and others like it) being lumped into sexuality and zoophilia "for art sake" without the context of hundreds of years of war-mongering and the deadly force of the Tokugawa is a disservice to what his purpose of these beautiful images represent.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 23 Jan 2018

Thanks for your comments. I think art should not be limited and avoid any subject matter. Sexuality is and always will be one of the main themes in art, and art IMHO is about seeking truth not always beauty or ‘good taste’. Animals are part of our environment and yes, sometimes humans cross boundaries. It’s one of the “duties” of the artist to also explore these kind of truths and scenes of bestiality in art go a long way back for a reason. Can you enjoy/appreciate an artwork without being attracted to or identifying with the subject? Personally I have had this many times. Once I opened a book of Robert Mapplethorpe including very graphic pictures of SM homoerotic oriented content that at first glance (I am heterosexual) repelled me but I was drawn to it at the same time because it was so beautifully photographed (the tonal gradations were stunning). In an interview with the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke he told the interviewer about a real-life event of two young Spanish men who had taken inspiration from his movie Funny Games in which two young men take hostage and submit a family to some sadistic games and eventually kill them. These delinquents who had taken a man from the street and tortured him to death are indeed sickos who enjoy violence and used the artwork as inspiration for their heinous crime but should this movie therefore be banned? I think not. It’s all about the integrity of the artist and it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Btw the above Ozuma print with the kitten I assume you are referring to, is of the most innocent kind.

Darya
By

Darya

on 10 Mar 2020

Yes, this is close to Alison Blickles' works indeed! PS As for 'zoophilia', one shouldn't forget about our mythologic narratives that are full of copulations of humans and animals. So this kind of images often has deeper roots than just someone's sick imagination.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 10 Mar 2020

I agree with that. It is difficult for some people to understand that you can appreciate a work of art depicting subversive subjects without agreeing to what is depicted. It is all about the integrity of the artist.

Ozuma Kaname – Animus Meminisse Horret
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Ozuma Kaname – Animus Meminisse Horret

on 17 Aug 2020

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