Yoshiyasu Tamura 田村吉康 is a painter, manga artist and illustrator who has made a name for himself around the world. He is known for manga works such as "Fudegami" (Jump Comics, Shueisha) in 2003 and, more recently in 2018, for the art in French manga "Devil's Relics" (Glénat, Fayard) by Gims and Jean-David Morvan. He is also known for his gorgeous art work inspired by Ukiyo-e and Yamato-e traditional Japanese painting styles as well as contemporary Japanese subcultures. For the past decade or so, Tamura has shown his works at exhibitions and fairs both at home and abroad, including the United States, Mexico, France, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands. He has also worked with the fashion brand McQ Alexander McQueen for the woman winter collection 2014 and collaborated with Ukranian photographer Marfa Vasilieva on a project combining manga body painting and photography in 2016.

His paintings, which combine whimsy and fantasy, portray female forms, sometimes with Japanese features, other times with more Western features, and other times fused with animals, elements from the natural world as well as symbolic inanimate objects and technological artifacts.

To view the works in their originally intended format, please click on the titles listed in the caption below

Clockwise from upper left: 『来迎図』/『月下』/『駿風』/『天狐Ⅱ』"Comet Fox II"| Permission from © Yoshiyasu Tamura

New artwork in Oslo: too steamy?

Tamura's portrayals of women are at times sensual. Such was the case with a mural he was commissioned to be displayed in an upscale restaurant in Oslo, Norway. Against a dazzling gold backdrop, Tamura shows several kimono-clad women leisurely enjoying sake which they sip from red lacquered cups. While showing off the aesthetic refinement of their clothing, makeup and hair accessories, Tamura also highlights the confidence and physical presence of the women, and showcases their beauty and sensuality through his attention to their poses and facial expressions. The completed mural, painted on canvas in acrylic paint stands 2.5 meters high and over 19 meters in total length.

Tamura invited model Tsunamayo (@T_utero) to Italy to pose for the sketches:

However, in a tweet he posted on October 20th, Tamura revealed that some Japanese people in Norway complained that his work was "too steamy."

Actually, this painting for Norway which I worked myself to death on this summer had great reactions by Norwegians and the French architecture firm (which commissioned it) but some of the Japanese over there were opposed. The reason they gave was: "too steamy." Personally, I don't think so at all. All I can say is if you have a request, tell me before signing the contract when I show you the miniature mock-up, don't tell me after it's finished!

Yoshiyasu Tamura's Twitter: posted on Oct. 20th

This video shows the miniature mock-up and the completed mural artwork:

Based on the content of the Tweet above, the Japanese people in question were probably involved with the project and could have influenced its artistic direction had they made their objections known when the miniature was shown. Since they did not, Mr. Tamura's indignation seems entirely warranted.

Voices of praise

In reaction to the tweet, the majority of the opinions voiced on Twitter were overwhelmingly positive. For example:

  • Rather than "steamy," I think you should express it as "bewitching"
  • The color, the feel of the materials and skin, the sexy expression, all of them are enough to make even women swoon, it's so wonderful.
  • It's steamy but I don't think it's "pornographic." It's truly beautiful. Eros should also be appreciated as art.
  • What a remarkable work. It requires physical strength and willpower to create art on such a scale. Please don't let the (negative) voices pull you down and keep up the great work!

For those who are interested, an original pencil sketch for the mural is still available for purchase at his online store on Booth.

Moreover, the entire work has been converted into a VR experience by ACW-DEEP Corp. which may (or may not) become available to the public in the future:

Mr. Tamura's icon

In case you were wondering, the cute woman in Mr. Tamura's Twitter icon is none other than himself. Fashion leader, model and makeup artist miyako, whose colorful ishoku-hada (other-skin) look we've covered before on grape Japan, helped create the makeover, transforming the bearded 41-year-old into a much younger-looking and female version of himself:

Incidentally, this wasn't the first collaboration between these two creative minds, since miyako modeled for Tamura's live painting entitled『青不動』aofudō, inspired by the painting of the blue Cetaka guardian deity at Shōren-in Temple, a designated national treasure:

Yoshiyasu Tamura Links

If you'd like to see more of Yoshiyasu Tamura's work or follow his activities on social media, please visit one of the following links:

By - Ben K.