Inagaki Taruho

Inagaki Taruho
Item# INAGAKI001

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Inagaki Taruho (1900-1977) was a Japanese writer. Inagaki was born in Osaka, moved to Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture while he was in elementary school, and spent much of his childhood in Kobe. He graduated from Kansei Gakuin Junior High School. In 1968 he won the first annual Japan Literature Grand Prize for "The Aesthetics of Shonen-ai (love for boys)", an essay on "aesthetic eroticism", where he divides stories into A, V, P and K varieties. Inagaki's works often dealt with themes including flight, astronomical objects, and shonen-ai.

Queer nonsense: aestheticized homoeroticism in Inagaki Taruho's early stories

Abstract: This article examines representations of schoolboy homoerotic desire in mid-1920s essays and short stories by modernist author Inagaki Taruho (1900-77) and argues that they should be read in the context of the concurrent proliferation of nansensu bungaku (nonsense literature), especially light, accessible stories that celebrate chance happenings, fashions, surfaces and fleeting impressions. Taruho uses a strategy of 'nansensu' in order to create a new celebratory form of queer literature that associates male homoeroticism with aesthetic acuity, modernity and what he called 'the new arts'. At the same time, Taruho strenuously avoids the negative rhetoric that had become a significant part of representations of same-sex desire in the literature of the early Showa-era. By drawing on particular examples from several essays and stories, including 'Watashi-no tanbishugi' (My aestheticism, 1924), 'Hana megane' (Pince-nez glasses, 1924), 'R-chan to S no hanashi' (The story of R-chan and S, 1924), 'Kru to shiroi dento' (Karl and the white light, 1924) and 'Tsukehige' (False moustache, 1927), this paper demonstrates that Taruho was actively resisting and subverting the language and assumptions of sexology.