Shizui Usui bondage painting
Alexandre Rodrigues da Costa
3 min

Nothing Is So Suspicious That It Cannot Be Seen: The Cruel, Ugly and Beautiful Erotism Of Shizuhiro Usui's Art

3 min

Published in 2023, the book "Concealed Cruel Illustrations," (fig.1) organized by Asaji Muroi (室井亜砂二), is an expanded version of "Hidden Picture of Cruelty." The book brings together the works of three artists dedicated to kinbaku and torture imagery: Shizuhiro Usui (臼井静洋), Takashi Shiba (四馬孝), and Kazunori Kanze (観世一則), who are part of the Fuzoku Shiryokan museum, a specialized library in Japan dedicated to SM and fetishism, located in Iidabashi, Tokyo. Of these three artists, perhaps the most mysterious is Shizuhiro Usui. Practically nothing is known about him, except that he was a painter active in the 1950s.

Shizui Usui

Fig.1. Concealed Cruel Picture Scrolls by Shizuhiro Usui a.o.

Shizui Usui bondage art


Facial Burns

Without access to his biography, all we can do is contemplate the beauty and cruelty of Shizuhiro Usui's paintings and drawings, in which both men and women subject their victims, usually women, to all kinds of torture. With no chance of escape, the women are injured in the most imaginable ways possible. Haircuts, facial burns, limb amputation, and body modification with plaster are recurring actions in Shizuhiro Usui's work, which departs from Western standards and engages with those of artists who published in the Kitan Club, for example.

Shizui Usui kinbaku


Shizui Usui art


Muddy and Primitive Touch

In each of his images, the characters, tormentors and victims, are depicted with grimaces of hatred and pain, as if the actions that provoke them are part of their daily lives. Clearly, the bodies of the victims assume absurd poses, as they are twisted in various ways in dark settings that bear many similarities to those seen in horror films. Perhaps that's why there's a sense of déjà vu that Asaji Muroi notes in his essay about the painter: "as if some dark memory that had been forgotten in the depths of my heart and unconsciously sealed had suddenly been unearthed and shown to me without ceremony. The muddy and primitive touch evokes a sense of nostalgia and strangeness, like a feeling of déjà vu." This roughness can be perceived in Shizuhiro Usui's color palette, where we see women with white skin, one of the idealized characteristics of beauty in Japanese culture, against dark backgrounds, reinforcing the contrast of their bodies. In pencil drawings, the images resemble those of expressionists, so that the bodies stand out even more from the scene, sometimes occupying almost the entire frame.

Shizui Usui painting


Shizui Usui artist


150 Images

Because it deals with sadomasochism, Shizuhiro Usui's work disturbs the general public, as Asaji Muroi noted when he held a magic lantern festival with about 150 images of the artist at the Fuzoku Shiryokan museum: "As a result, the reaction was not as expected. I'm sure that members who were not interested must have felt lost."

Shizui Usui bondage painting


Love Of The Brute

The disorientation and anguish that Shizuhiro Usui's paintings and drawings provoke in the viewer are very similar to those of the images Hiroaki Samura produced for his book "Love Of The Brute" (人でなしの恋Hitodenashi no Koi). Although we know that humans can be cruel in certain situations, Shizuhiro Usui's work in "Love Of The Brute" cannot be contemplated with parameters based on our reality, as what they transgress is the normalization of visual representations based on what is defined as good taste, accessible to everyone, so that nothing disturbs the viewer.

Shizuhiro Usui


In the exclusive Premium edition you can find out more on Usui's depiction of the female character, the definition of "beauty" and aesthetics of cruelty, and additional pics of his gruesome paintings,

Click HERE for the mysterious spanking drawings of Katou Kahoru

What do you think about Usui's bondage paintings? Leave your reaction in the comment box below....!!