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Fond farewell to Japan’s Namio Harukawa, phenomenal artist of femdom

The great Japanese artist of femdom erotica, Namio Harukawa, died of cancer last week, 4/24/20, at the age of 72 or 73, and when I read the news (in the middle of a sleepless night) via a tweet posted by my colleague, the equally great British artist of femdom erotica, Sardax, I felt as if a part of my own consciousness had broken off and drifted away into eternity. Namio Harukawa dead? Not existing on this planet anymore? I felt similarly when I heard that Kirk Douglas, another important figure in my psyche, had passed away. Kirk?? Not amongst us anymore?? Hard to believe, yet it was true.

Namio Harukawa became most famous for his obsession with facesitting femmes, but to me personally that was never the focal point of his artistic achievement. It was the power of his women, psychologically and physically, that riveted my imagination in the many scenarios he depicted.

His work has been part of my femdom mindset and my aesthetic/erotic outlook for more than thirty years, ever since I first discovered him when I started editing CHEEKS magazine in late 1988, and I wrote a brief appreciation of him therein (and which you can read here). As his skill and artistry grew over the years, my admiration only increased. I wished I’d had a chance to meet and talk with him, but that never happened as he was in Japan and I was in America. In fact, in general he seemed a very elusive presence, except for his art–which became ubiquitous on the Web.

What I particularly always loved was how he portrayed an atmosphere of psychological ambiguity through his use of dramatic lighting that reminded me of what I saw in Japanese softcore erotic movies or films noir. Namio seemed to be saying (at least to me): yes, femdom is exciting, facesitting and plush domineering women et al are thrilling, but there can be an emotional price that comes with these fetishes, these passions, these pursuits. This message was in the lighting, the atmosphere often surrounding his characters–and I use the term “characters” deliberately, rather than just “figures”, because the men and women in Namio’s pictures seemed like characters: part of a continuing femdom psychodrama playing in his head, and through his works, in ours.

 

I feel similarly about Namio’s death to what I felt when I heard that the wonderful American composer Bernard Herrmann died in 1976. I’d admired Herrmann since I’d heard his score for Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in the early ’60s on tv, without then knowing his name; then I became a devoted fan after picking up his seminal recording, Music from Great Film Classics, in 1970; and his sudden death on Christmas Eve 1975 hours after completing his recording of the score for Taxi Driver was a sad shock. He was only in his mid-sixties and I, like all his fans, had looked forward to many more years of his fabulous creations.

Like Herrmann, Namio Harukawa was an artist not celebrated so much in the mainstream, but more someone revered in the specialist circles: fans of film music, and of femdom art. Herrmann and Harukawa were our artists, speaking especially to our unique interests, giants to us–and we knew they’d be giants to more people if they could only be discovered more widely and understood and judged on their own terms, not on some stuffy and condescending academic-critical musical or art history perspective. It is good to see, then, that Bernard Herrmann became more generally famous and celebrated after his death, and I have the feeling it will be the same with Namio Harukawa. His public recognition was broadened last year with a book and exhibit in Japan, and I think more salutes will follow as fans share their love for his work and they catch the eye of newcomers.

Rest in peace, Namio Harukawa, Master Artist of Femdom. Your work will live on forever.


For Sardax’s remembrance of Namio, please go here.

 

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A passion for Japanese erotica…

Over the last couple of weeks, on Sundays, I got a lot of views on this blog from Japan, many more than I’ve gotten in a long time from anywhere. On our blog dashboards, we can see where the views are coming from and how many we get.

Japan, the land of Aoi Sola, one of my favorite adult actresses ever! Her combination of warmth, humor, friendliness and thrilling lack of inhibition on-screen made it easy to develop a crush on her and seek out her many sinematic performances. I’ve always regretted not getting to see her in person at NYC’s Japan Society when she turned up several years ago for a talk. I wrote about that here in 2011 in the early days of this blog. And here is a good recent article from TheCultureTrip.com about Miss Aoi for those of you who don’t know about her unusual career and a crossover from porn to the mainstream that eclipses any such professional segue we’ve ever heard of in the adult field, including Jenna Jameson’s here in America. And here is a 2015 article from Tokyo Weekender.com about her popularity in China. Her name is also spelled as Aoi Sora, but with either spelling it means “Blue Sky,” a most appropriate choice indeed given the sunny feelings (among various emotions) that her work can inspire.

 

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: I got the feeling that perhaps one Japanese reader was going through my entire blog these last two weekends. I don’t know for sure, and it could have been multiple readers, but not knowing why I would suddenly get a lot of views from Japan, I guessed it might have been one reader whose curiosity was piqued by my posts. I really appreciate the interest and hope that, whoever you are, you’ve enjoyed my work!

For my part, I find Japanese erotica some of the most entertaining, stimulating, and creatively realized. I’ve enjoyed looking through beautifully edited Japanese men’s magazines, full of their gorgeous photography of pretty girls. Even when the photos just showed the models in swimsuits, they always had an especially resonant sexiness.

Movie-wise, some of the best and most memorable porn scenes I’ve ever watched were in Japanese hardcore videos over the last ten, fifteen years. I have a friend who watched an incredible number of these movies himself and would direct me to some really excellent videos. We had long and enthusiastic discussions about our favorite actresses like Rei Himekawa and Sakura Sakurada. I wish I could tell you what the titles of these movies were, but most of them were in Japanese on the boxcovers, usually with no English translation! Elsewhere on this blog here I’ve written about the stars I admire like Megu Hagiwara or Kaya Yonekura.

Here’s a nice photo of Sakura Sakurada which I found at the AsianBabesDataBase.com here.

Moving into more niche interests, with my obsession for femdom erotica, I’ve long been a huge fan of the art of Namio Harukawa too, reveling in his atmospheric depictions of amazonian ladies subduing slaves with big butts, powerful thighs, and, of course, their indomitable will to rule men. In fact, I believe I wrote one of the first American articles about Namio, back in 1988 for an early issue of Cheeks magazine, which I started editing that year (and continued to edit until 2005).

Another Japanese femdom artist whom I like, I only know by the name Harukano:

As far as mainstream Japanese movies dealing with femdom, my absolute favorite is Moonlight Whispers (aka Sasayaki) which I’ve written about here (in what has been by far the most popular post on my blog over the years); and I also enjoyed a film called New Love in Tokyo, which had some of the best and most evocative dungeon scenes in the context of a dramatic movie.

In the best scene in New Love in Tokyo, a dominatrix breaks down a cynical visitor to the dungeon by playing on his weaknesses until he completely surrenders to her. She leaves him alone in the dark for awhile, and that’s when she finally gets to him. It’s been a long time since I saw the movie, so I may be vague on these details, but I never forgot this film. You can read more about it at TheSameCinemaEveryNight.net here, where I found the poster art above. I can’t believe I saw it well over twenty years ago!!

Lately I haven’t gone much to strip clubs, but in recent years my favorite dancers were Japanese women who were working here in NYC as exotic dancers. Sometimes we discussed¬† BDSM fantasies, but for the most part I used to just visit them to talk and get a few dances. I became quite friendly with two of them.

Finally, one of my favorite writers is Junichiro Tanizaki, regarded as one of the greatest of the 20th century. He also frequently dealt with fetishism, female domination, and even the cuckolding scenario in his famous novel Naomi and foot fetishism in Diary of a Mad Old Man. The poster of the film version of the latter, which I found on IMDb, is below.

 

In fact, I gave one of my Japanese stripper friends a copy of Tanizaki’s terrific book of bizarre stories, Seven Japanese Tales, to read when she took a break from the club for a few weeks. It contains his great story about a woman with a spider tattoo who ends up conquering the man who gave it to her. Ironically, though, my dancer friend thought the book was a little too kinky and strange! That surprised me because she was the one who told me her fantasy was to be a mistress and lead me around on a leash, a revelation that certainly kept me interested in her for quite awhile, hoping this fantasy could someday be enacted (alas, it never was, except perhaps figuratively in that she certainly kept me on an invisible psychological leash with me constantly coming back as her customer.) Anyway, I was disappointed too because I had re-read the entire book to discuss it with her on her return from her break, but she had almost nothing to say about it other than it was “weird!” Well, I couldn’t argue with that. It was weird…but also great. Maybe she wasn’t much of a reader, either…but she was a fun companion in the club, which was the most important thing.

Well, I’d love to go to Japan someday and, among many other sights, see some of its erotic culture up close and live, and not through only magazines, pictures, or videos. Perhaps I’m a bit of a mad old man myself now! ūüėČ

 

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When women rule, will the world be cool?

Let’s take a peek into the future to find out…and¬†I mean the FAR future…like, the 24th century future!

It’s the subject of my newest ebook on Amazon…

A time traveler finds himself in a world where women call the shots...

A time traveler finds himself in a world where women call the shots…

A rather self-absorbed horny scientist invents a time machine‚ÄĒyes, an actual time machine‚ÄĒbut expressly for the purpose of having sex with women of different eras!¬†How fucking self-absorbed can you get? Yet Raymond “Race” Ackerman is a kind of likable guy, with a good sense of humor. When he lands in 2399, he discovers that men are the puppets of the Overclass Women who rule society. Whoops! His pathway to easy pussy¬†is over as he is informed that¬†he will have pleasure only¬†by handjobs¬†performed on him at the whims of the dominatrices who gather in The Groves of Goddesses‚ÄĒa place formerly known as New York’s Central Park!

It’s a fast-moving, fun story that I really enjoyed writing. You can find it at Amazon U.S. here¬†¬†with all my other ebooks, and of course in the online Amazon stores worldwide.

Best of all from a professional writer’s point of view, I finally made the Amazon bestseller list with this new book; 2 Amazon bestseller lists, in fact‚ÄĒfirst, the Kindle Science-Fiction erotica list in the U.S.:

SciFiBestsellerHeader

 

SciFiFemdomBestseller

‚ÄĒand¬†the¬†Amazon erotica bestseller list in Japan! A special thrill because I am a big fan of Japanese erotica, femdom and otherwise, and have always wanted readers to enjoy my own work there.

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Time travel has long¬†been one of my fantasy interests, and I even did a blog devoted to it several years ago called The Horny Time Traveler which you can find here. Check it out, and I hope you’ll read and enjoy FEMDOM NEW YORK 2399 A.D. too. Let me¬†know what you think with a comment here, or on Twitter @irvoneil, or with a brief review on Amazon or Goodreads!


 

The cover photo, which I got at the stock photography house 123RF.com, was shot by nejron, whose portfolio you can see here.

 
 

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Aoi Sora, the Aphrodite of Japan, visits New York City…

Strange day. I started out polishing a short story I’d written for a magazine. That went well and I figured on having a productive day. But then I read online that the famous Japanese porn star Aoi Sora (aka Aoi Sola, which means Blue Sky, and which is pronounced “Ow-ee So-ra”) was going to appear at a screening tonight, of a new mainstream non-porn movie she’s in, at the Japan Society here in Manhattan. I got totally discombobulated. Would I be able to get into that screening and see this beauty in the flesh?

She does mainstream music and movies now, too.

Miss Aoi is an incredibly beautiful and talented performer who has gone beyond porn into mainstream acting, and I’ve admired her for several years. She is unbelievably sexy, completely uninhibited, with a sweetness and a knack for humor that transcends the porn genre. She’s like some kind of Japanese Aphrodite in my mind. For a few hours I kicked myself that I didn’t learn about the screening earlier, because I was too absorbed in various work projects to thoroughly check all my emails, one of which announced her upcoming visit as early as two weeks ago. I definitely would have ordered a ticket just to see this gal on a stage fully clothed. It wouldn’t matter if I couldn’t understand a word she said. She was going to appear at a Q&A after the movie, and an after-party at the Japan Society. As I learned today when I got through to the box office, the show was already sold-out. I didn’t feel like going over there and getting on the waiting list and risking the disappointment of not getting in. I guess I’m a bit of a pessimist…

Well, another look at her happy face picks up my spirits…

She is talented with a camera, too, and puts some interesting shots on her blog.

Instead I ended up staying home this evening, having some Chinese take-out, and reading a tale by one of my favorite authors, Junichiro Tanizaki. He has been an influence on my own story-writing, as he dealt with kinky sexuality and obsession as I do in my fiction. His book Seven Japanese Tales is a masterpiece of kinkiness but is full of beauty amid the psychosexual twists and turns of the characters.

Sometimes Tanizaki's characters have a foot fetish. Nonetheless the author was once said to be in the running for the Nobel Prize!

Miss Aoi would be great in a film based on a Tanizaki story. She could be the young wife who drives the old man crazy for her feet in Diary of a Mad Old Man!

I found this battered old copy of the book at an outdoor book stall for a dollar. I’ve had a number of copies of it over the years, and even gave one to a Japanese stripper I was fond of. She thought the book was kind of weird…well, she’s right, it is. But the stories in it are also beautiful.

Getting back to Aoi–a friend of mine who’s a real expert in contemporary Japanese porn got me a femdom video Aoi did, but ironically, although I couldn’t wait for him to give it to me, I still haven’t watched it. Maybe I’m not ready to see this beautiful dream girl turn into the bitch of my darker dreams.

Well, maybe Aoi will go to the flea markets tomorrow as part of her New York itinerary. I’ll be there, thumbing through vintage men’s mags. How amazing it would be to look up from a 1950s issue of some burlesque journal to see the Japanese Aphrodite strolling among the stalls…

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Erotica

 

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