NSFW! The radical, homoerotic art of Sadao Hasegawa


Sadao Hasegawa
Untitled, Sadao Hasegawa, c. 1990

While the work of Tom of Finland has endured as an artistic cornerstone for Western LGBTQI+ culture, the lesser-known works of Japanese artist Sadao Hasegawa offer contributions that are just as rich in male sexuality. 

Born in 1945 in Japan, Hasegawa began his pursuit of art fairly young.

His early works primarily reflected European styles, drawing largely upon the works of Tom of Finland.

His work also mainly focused on erotic paintings of men, including elements from a wide variety of kinks.

Hasegawa went on to be published in (mainly queer) publications and the artist soon garnered a reputation for his skill and ability to blend so many different cultures and practices within his paintings.

Hasegawa’s Early Work

Hasegawa’s early work largely focuses on the muscular masculine form.

The work utilises vibrant colours and smooth textures reminiscent of European art styles.

The men in the art are pictured in vaguely sexual scenarios, entangled in light bondage.

Sadao Hasegawa art
Untitled, Sadao Hasegawa c. 1975-1979

 

Hasegawa 1980s
Untitled, Sadao Hasegawa c. 1980

However, as Hasegawa broadened his travels, his artistic inspirations also grew.

Over time the European influences became eclipsed by Indian, Tibetan Buddhist, African, Japanese, and Balinese themes.

Later works

Following regular trips to Indonesia and Thailand, in particular, Hasegawa’s work put greater focus on Asian iconography and mythology.

Sadao Hasegawa cited Japanese homoerotic artist Go Mishima as one of his biggest inspirations at the time.

NSFW! Click Here: Lion Dance by Sadao Hasegawa, 1982.

Untitled, Sadao Hasegawa, 1990

NSFW! Click Here: Close II, Sadao Hasegawa, 1996.

Legacy

On November 20, 1999, Hasegawa died from suicide by hanging in a Bangkok, Thailand, hotel.

Hasegawa’s suicide occurred on the anniversary of gay author and political leader Yukio Mishima.

Hasegawa idolised Mishima, leaving nothing at the scene of his death except a painted rock of his idol and a note.

After his passing, Hasegawa’s family were initially going to throw out all the work he left behind.

However, they then found the note he left, which detailed his request for all he left behind to be donated to Gallery Naruyama in Tokyo.

Ownership of his work was eventually granted to Gallery Naruyama in Tokyo, which now holds the majority of Hasegawa’s collected works.

Dr Thomas Baudinette, who wrote the introduction to Sadao Hasegawa’s first published work since the artist’s death, writes of his legacy.

“What is most exciting about Hasegawa’s work is that it is so hybrid – Japanese erotic art embedded in a transnational space that responds to western beefcake and Southeast Asian religious imagery,” Dr Baudinette says.

“I think that is significant in today’s world, where the community is becoming more globally connected.

“Hasegawa shows us what Asia can teach us about homoeroticism. He’s a cosmopolitan thinker who is incredibly relevant right now.”

Read Also: Yukio Mishima: the beautiful should die young.

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Nate Woodall

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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