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Sunday 13 June 2010

Mitchell's A-Z of Fetish Artists - Mishima

Mishima - Kneeling

Japan is seen as the spiritual home of artistic, rope bondage and Mishima is one of the most significant artists in this genre. Virtually all of his fetish pictures are simple studies of Japanese men in bondage, usually nude and drawn without backgrounds. These (apparently) simple and elegant drawings are very much in his national tradition.

Mishima - Tied to a Post
Mishima's men and the culture he depicts are also unmistakeably Japanese. In this picture the young man's face has a distinctive, puppy fat appearance quite different to Hasegawa's more Western-looking boys (for example). The traditional loincloth trails down alluringly and is only held in place by the ropes which dive between his legs emphasising the bulge. The line of the head, body and legs follow a beautiful arc. His men are generally adorned with naturalistic body hair on legs and arms as well as the chests (sometimes it is shown in a naively curly way).
Mishima - Suspended
Like many Japanese artists (e.g. Hasegawa), he is interested in bodies that are covered with extensive and dense tattoos. Tattoos in Japan have various associations with criminality, class, bravery and wealth which on the face of it is not dissimilar to the UK but I wouldn't presume to judge what aspect Mishima and Hasegawa are portraying in their pictures. The emphasis given to the tattoo can confuse the eye and obscure the detail of the body and even gives a clothed appearance sometimes, but it's clearly an artistic choice not a misjudgement which is fair enough.

The anatomical detail is often impeccable, like the feet in this picture. 
There is often an air of real, but unseen menace in the pictures, sometimes manifested as staves prodding the captives body, bruises or even blood trickling from the mouth or wounds. When he shows men who are not tied they are often striking fighting poses or wielding knives, swords or staves with fierce expressions on their faces. In many pictures the captives sport impressive (but feasible) erections and may be tethered (and tormented) by chains attached to them. 

Mishima - Affection
Having said that, there are also some delightfully affectionate images too, all the more erotic for the hardness of the companion works. You can see that he used a traditional brush technique for this picture.

Mishima's bondage studies are less startling these days, when bondage imagery is commonplace, but even so you'd have to search hard to find the poses selected here. His straightforward elegant style is very attractive to the eye and the preference for solo, near naked studies renders them both artistic and timeless. For that reason he often pops up on gay art and fetish sites. 
Theres a selection of his work at Ayhan's blog, sadly Jeunes Asian Art has gone.

To see earlier posts in this series click A-Z in the label list below


Anonymous said...

For some people, tattooing is a fetish in its own right. Certainly the extended time and effort and discomfort (all the more significant because it's a voluntary process) can be interpreted as both self-punishment or narcissism (either way, a small step away from a fully realized fetish)..a

Mitchell said...

Well said! The pain of the process is an aspect I have not considered very much in fetish terms. Of course self infliction of pain is also regarded as a facet of manliness (as in contact sports).

As for the voluntary element, at one time delivering drunken sailors or bridegrooms to a tattooing parlour to receieve an involuntary, embarrassing tattoo was part of popular folklore and sometimes referenced in pre-liberation gay art.