The Erotic, Grotesque and Nonsense World of Shintaro Kago
13 augustus 2021 

The Erotic, Grotesque and Nonsense World of Shintaro Kago

The work of Japanese artist Shintaro Kago (1969) is known at home and abroad as one of the great expressions of the ero guro nansensu. Much more thought of as a set of cultural trends, which emerged during the Taisho era and the beginning of the Shōwa era, than an organized movement, the ero guro nansenu began in literature, with works by Edogawa Ranpo and Yumeno Kyūsaku, unfolding, in the following decades, in painting, engraving, sculpture, cinema and music.

Yoshitoshi and Kyōsai

However, it’s possible to identify antecedents that connect the ero guro nansensu to the Edo period, such as the works of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Fig.1) and Kawanabe Kyōsai. In a way, Shintaro Kago’s manga and drawings can be seen as a mixture of the preferences of these two artists, since his work unites violence and satire as a possibility of analyzing the society in which he lives.

Shintaro Kago Yoshitoshi

Fig.1. ‘The Picture of the Lonely House on Adachi Moor (Oshû Adachigahara hitotsuya no zu)‘ (1885) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Shintaro Kago ero guro

Fig.2. (Transl.) Adachi’s motto is to be kind and polite in the gynecology department. We also perform C-sections by demon midwives.

Extreme Violence

The best known part of Shintaro Kago’s work concerns manga, whose transgressive and experimental narratives are loaded with extreme violence, madness and black humor, ranging from narratives with few pages, such as those in the series that they constitute the two volumes of the manga Dementia 21, going through manga such as Fraction, which flirts with the giallo, until epic works, such as The Princess of the Never-ending Castle (Fig.8).

Shintaro Kago ero guro comic

Fig.3.

Cannibalism

In addition to narrative works, Shintaro Kago is dedicated to making small books from 15 to 90 pages, known as art books. In these art books, the artist, no longer conditioned by the narrative, creates a series of images of kawaii-style girls torn apart and tortured in more unusual ways. In the books Panna Cotta and Candy filled girl’s head, the reader is invited to contemplate Shintaro Kago’s peculiar humor through mutilations, cannibalism, monstrosities, murders, suicides and eschatology, in which the body, all the time, is transgressed as if it were a toy being broken by a child.

Shintaro Kago

Fig.4.

Monty Python

Perhaps it’s no wonder that the taste for black humor, in Shintaro Kago’s images, reminds us of Jonathan Swift’s work, since the Japanese artist is admittedly a fan of the Monty Python group, whose nonsense humor has a lot of similarity to that practiced by Irish writer.

Shintaro Kago ero guro artist

Fig.5.

How to Suicide

If these images of girls break with any notion of the idealized body, by being fragmented in a labyrinthine and permutative way, in other art books, we can see how the insertion of texts leads the images to expand their satirical load, not just about the constitution of kawaii, but also about specific social behaviors, as in After-School, and comprehensively in Funeral Views volume 1 and 2, How to Suicide (Fig.26 to 29), Sexual Games and Japanese Ghosts, in which Japanese traditions and rituals, taken to the extreme,  become elements of laugh.

ero guro nansensu

Fig.6.

Sex, Absurdity and Violence

This strange world of Shintaro, an expression that even gives its title to another volume of art books, has no limits to the forms of expression that the artist constantly seeks to explore, by combining sex, absurdity and violence through laughter, following Georges Bataille’s maxim: “no longer leaving out laughter tearing the fabric of which man is made, on the contrary, knowing itself guaranteed by insignificance until thought is not itself a deep tear in the fabric, and its object – the being itself – the torn fabric”.

Shintaro Kago ero guro nansensu

Fig.7.

Shintaro Kago Princess of Neverending Castle

Fig.8.

ero guro nansensu comic

Fig.9.

Shintaro Kago horror

Fig.10.

shintaro kago manga

Fig.11. (Transl.) Shintaro Kago. So I peel my skin.

shintaro kago manga comic

Fig.12. (Transl.) Shintaro Kago. It’s a very comfortable coat.

best shintaro kago manga

Fig.13. (Transl.) Shintaro Kago. Looking for something? Already found.

shintaro kago manga list

Fig.14. (Transl.) Shintaro Kago. Candy Filled Girl’s Head – That knife made you mine.

manga shintaro kago

Fig.15. (Transl.) Work together with you. You are very shy. The result will be wonderful for sure.

manga art shintaro kago

Fig.16. (Transl.) If you keep your hands clean, you won’t be afraid of epidemics. But if I die of illness with you, I won’t be afraid of anything.

shintaro kago suehiro maruo

Fig.17.

shintaro kago Darth Vader

Fig.18. (Transl.) Sorry for the inconvenience. I’m your father. What? Seriously? Incest, come on, I’m barred by Tokyo regulations.

Shintaro Kago erotic

Fig.19. (Transl.) Various types of sexual love. Collaboration between father and child.

Shintaro Kago erotic manga

Fig.20. (Transl.) Sexual relations between daruma dolls.

Shintaro Kago bloody manga

Fig.21. (Transl.) Funeral of JK. It’s a very popular burial method.

Shintaro Kago anime

Fig.22. (Transl.) Burial in the Japanese skyIt’s a scene you often see in the morning in Japan.

Shintaro Kago comics

Fig.23. (Transl.)  Funeral Kebab. We respect the meals of life.

horror manga Shintaro Kago

Fig.24. (Transl.) Bathroom Funeral Inject the chemical solution to avoid clogging along the way.

Shintaro Kago print

Fig.25 – Barbecue Funeral. It’s perfect for bringing the family together.

Shintaro Kago horror comic

Fig.26. ‘Suicide: Ultraman

bloody manga Shintaro Kago

Fig.27. ‘Suicide: Fire Man’

Shintaro Kago bondage

Fig.28. ‘Suicide: Baby

Shintaro Kago suicide

Fig.29. ‘Suicide: Manga Artist

Shintaro Kago cover art

Fig.30.

Shintaro Kago harakiri

Fig.31.

Shintaro Kago strange collection

Fig.32. ‘Strange Collection

Shintaro Kago strange world

Fig.33. ‘Strange World of Shintaro Kago

Shintaro Kago macrabre

Fig.34. (fareastfire.blogspot.com/)

Shintaro Kago Shitting Girl

Fig.35. ‘Shitting Girl 

Click HERE for an article on the important representative of ero guro art Suehiro Maruo….!!

You can follow Shintaro’s new work on Instagram..!!

Let us know your thoughts on the macabre sensuality of Shintaro Kago in the comment box below…!!

Alexandre Rodrigues da Costa is poet and works as a professor of Art History at the State University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
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