Exaggerated Eroticism of Superflat Creator Takashi Murakami
02 januari 2023 
4 min. read

Exaggerated Eroticism of Superflat Creator Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami (1962), creator of the Superflat movement*, is internationally known for the sculptures My Lonesome Cowboy (Fig.1) and Hiropon (Fig.2). These are the result of the meeting of heterogeneous elements and refer to the otaku** and hentai cultures. It is interesting to see the fluidity with which Japanese erotic fantasy moves from shunga to hentai culture.

Fig.1. ‘The Lonesome Cowboy ‘ (1998)

Bodily Fluids

In the Edo period, the most striking feature of erotic art was the uninhibited reproduction of genitalia (including hair), not only faithfully represented but also enlarged beyond all proportion; with the subsequent censorship, the ban on depicting sexual organs shifted attention to substitute elements, such as tentacles, or secondary elements such as female breasts and bodily fluids, which were also hypertrophic (gigantism).

Fig.2. ‘Hiropon ‘ (1997)

Semen and a Lasso

In Murakami's sculptures, the exaggeration almost strips the figure of all eroticism, and the fluids become veritable appendages of the bodies, like human tentacles. The nature of the tentacle, its capacity to extend and invade without control, becomes a fundamental element of the new eroticism, which does not allow itself to be enclosed but instead becomes fluid and exploits all the possibilities of erotic fantasy.

Lonesome Cowboy

My Lonesome Cowboy (1998), which recalls (in the title and the similarity between semen and a lasso) Andy Warhol's Lonesome Cowboy (1968), depicting a spiky-haired superhero-type emitting a lasso of creamy white from his erect penis, a satire of the Western film genre, is in turn a critique of Japanese consumerist culture in the post-war American occupation period.

Illegal Aspects

In contrast, the female sculpture, Hiropon (a Japanese term for 'amphetamine'), a blue-haired girl with humongous breasts that stream a loop of milk, alludes to the illegal aspects of otaku culture.

takashi murakami 3 meter girl

Fig.3. '3 Meter Girl ' (2011)

Fig.4. 'Rear end of 3 Meter Girl ' (2011)

Fig.5. 'Nurse Ko2 ' (2007)

Takashi Murakami: artist and phallic scupture

Fig.6. 'Mr Big Mushroom ' (2011) (Source: sometimes-now.com)

In the extended Premium version, you can find more info on Murakami's grotesque sculpture '3-Meter Girl '. his  homage to the notorious triptych Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment (1899) by the important Meiji artist Kurosada Seiki, and more images.

Click HERE and check out a neo shunga painting by Jeff Faerber including a subtle reference to Murakami.

Sources: wikipedia.org, gagosian.com, twitter.com, pinterest.com,

*Superflat movement is a postmodern art movement, founded by the artist Takashi Murakami, which is influenced by manga and anime. However, superflat doesn't have an explicit definition because Takashi Murakami does not want to limit the movement, but rather leave room for it to grow and evolve over time.

**otaku is a Japanese slang word roughly meaning “geek” or “nerd,” and though it has been imported into English-speaking cultures, it still maintains these Japanese connections.

A headline of an article in the British newspaper The Times read 'Is Takashi Murakami’s work art or porn?" What do you think? 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.
derek dey

derek dey

on 29 May 2023

Interesting definitions but for example, I find the "Lonesome Cowboy" more of a humorous work whereas the "Rear End of the 3 Meter Girl" fascinates beyond mere interest. That begs the question of what lies active and waiting a trigger mechanism.

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