July 16th, 2010 by Family Sohn
As a practitioner of comical penis drawing, I’ve spent countless hours studying the masterworks of the Heta-uma genre. These artists have, and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in regards to the creative pictorial display of the penis.
Heta-uma is a Japanese term that loosely translates to Bad-Good, and refers to a style of illustration/manga popularized in the mid-1980′s by artists such as King Terry and Ebisu Yoshikazu. The Heta-uma style is characterized by an extremely crude approach to line, color and form, but rich with the personality and humor of each artist.
Here is a short excerpt that I think is especially revealing from Frederik L. Schodt’s Dreamland Japan.
“King Terry believes that there are essentially four types of art:
1. Heta-uma [Bad-good]-a high level of achievement, requiring great practice. The goal to be attained.
2. Uma-uma [Good-good]-the truly amazing “professionals,” those who can astound everyone with their works. The creme de la creme.
3. Heta-heta [Bad-bad]-the truely bad amateur, who has neither technique nor sensibility. The average person.
4. Uma-heta [Good-bad]-the professional whose technique is good but whose work lacks life. No soul.”
This image was drawn by, Japanese television personality and cartoonist, Ebisu Yoshikazu. What really makes this image wonderful is the shifting scale relationship between the horse and the man. Is it a normal sized man hanging from a giant horse penis? Or is it a tiny man hanging from a normal sized horse penis?
This next image is by, contemporary Heta-uma artist, Yusaku Hanakuma. Here Hanakuma has given us a symbolically layered image, rich with the sexual pathos of the everyday man. Interchanging the male penis with an eel, or Unagi as it is called Japan, we see the frustration of his unfulfilled sexual desires, represented by the bait, displayed in his posture and facial expression.
This apocalyptic image, as rendered by Takashi Nemoto, is a perfect example of the dark humor that is usually found in Heta-uma style works. In this scene the American military has just detonated an atomic bomb in the background, and at the same time the male figure in the foreground has been simultaneously masturbating. His testicles now radiated by the atomic blast he immaculately conceives a mutant sperm child.
The last image is by King Terry, and I chose it because of it’s atypical nature. Usually, as progressive and dark as Heta-uma can be, there is a definite lack of homosexual depiction. But King Terry is not one to shy away or discriminate when it comes to the depiction of the penis. Here we see a group of semi-clothed and naked white males frolicking in the sun. The one on the left has a peace sign embroidered onto his pants, and the description in the middle roughly translates to, “Friends that pee together.”
is a weekly comic strip, updated every Sunday, by Ray Sohn and his wife. Follow our everyday follies as we navigate the barren wasteland that is marriage, love and life.
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