Namio Harukawa

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Namio Harukawa, who has recently passed away, was always one of my reference points for femdom illustration. In my younger years I was drawn to his art as he was one of the few artists almost totally dedicated to the femdom theme, so I tried to find as much of it as I could. By then his style had developed a distinctive look and in the sex shops of the 80‘s you could occasionally find collections of his art, shabby bindings of photocopies from legitimate Japanese magazines (yes, it happened even then!)
I once found his art published in a more reputable collection of Japanese erotica and wrote to him via the editor to introduce myself. A short friendly correspondence by letter ensued but we then lost touch for many years.

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Astonishingly, especially to younger people, I don’t think Namio ever came on the Internet – unless he lurked incognito – so if he knew of his developing fame it must have been only indirectly. I tried to connect with him again a few times in the 90’s but I only really heard about him through the Japanese blogger Homer, who knew him directly, organised an exhibition and produced a DVD devoted to his work. As a tribute to him he asked me to draw my own face-sitting art for the cover.

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“Viva facesitting” The model for this cover was the now-retired Mistress Lubyanka

Harukawa’s range was somewhat limited, it has to be said, but magnificently obsessive. Facesitting was his universe and he rarely strayed from that. If he drew whipping or shoe worship, for example, it would seem forced as if he had little interest. Moreover his women were very much of a bulkier type, unusual amongst Japanese, and maybe for that very reason so attractive to him.
It is interesting to track his development of this.  When he started drawing for the SM magazines of Japan in the 1970’s – either by choice or because it was requested – his women were normally proportioned. The line drawings were proficient and charming but unremarkable. As the years progressed the Namio Goddess developed. The buttocks became larger and larger, the settings more confined and claustrophobic, the light and shadow more haunting and the dreamy atmosphere more intense.

They are still recognisably Japanese for all that; this was before the anime cartoon style ruled that every female character had to have huge Western eyes and childish faces.
By contrast t
he men in his pictures remained largely homogenous and uniform, pathetic and passive in their adoration at their “altar”.
Rather than work under commission for portraiture as I have done, he seemed to be in the enviable position of supplying like-minded patrons with his vision and selling to SM magazines in Japan, a vibrant market which eagerly promoted bizarre artwork and amazing photography (so different to Britain!)
In latter days he supplied Megami-no-ai with previously published works but I understand he was too ill to produce anything new.
Namio stands remembered for his unique vision. I know he would have liked to pass from this earth suffocated underneath one of his goddesses but of course that never happened. He lived to a good age though taken by cancer, and  leaves behind a substantial legacy which will remain one of the pinnacles of excellence in femdom art .

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Namio Harukawa 1947-2020

For Irv O’Neil’s remembrance please go here 
It’s a better article as he’s a proper writer!

Meeting a mistress pre-Internet

Iʼd better preface this post by saying that I am not well qualified to write it as my own few attempts were so awful I simply gave up and despaired. I never dreamt then that meeting mistresses would one day become part of my work.

 

So how in pre-Internet days did you go about meeting a mistress? and we mean here a professional mistress as the thought of meeting anyone who was happy to be dominant without charging for it was almost inconceivable. This is my own experience so if your experience differs from mine feel free to comment.

Clubs

So night clubs existed of course and even fetish club nights. Personally I hated dark clubs and their kind of music but it seemed then that to gain entry into a certain lifestyle that was one of the few options. I never understood why I had to dress in a certain way and listen to the right music to find that sympathetic mistress. So I never took that avenue.

Failing that there appeared to be two main methods:

Cards in phone boxes

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A cluster of cards with phone numbers in Soho, London. Not the most stylish invitation to an hour or so of pleasure. (unknown photographer)

Meeting your mistress commando-style. Probably not recommended for a lasting ongoing relationship. Adrenalin required.
Find a telephone box and look for the illegally placed cards conveniently at eye level. Ring the number on the card next to the photo/drawing of the mistress. Speak to the “maid”, usually an elderly sex worker who would describe the lady in question -inaccurately of course. Bust size, height, hair colour. Within an hour or so you could be there waiting to be processed after another customer. Where? a dingy basement near to the phone box maybe. Cash only. Explain to the mistress just what you wanted and hope she’d understand. Usually disappointing – from others too so I hear.

 

The contact magazine

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For those who preferred a more measured approach to meeting a mistress there was the contact magazine. This small A5 magazine, cheaply printed in black and white, was sold in Soho sex shops and if you were lucky – newsagents. With names like Superbitch or Real Mistress the purpose was to provide an introduction by means of personal ads. Unlike today where you are blasted by websites and social media heaving with video clips and all the photos you could ever desire, the magazine would allow you a grainy low-res photo of the mistress which let the imagination weave its own fantasy of how she might look. Seeing these tiny grey photos not just once, but over and over the imagination in the head would supply a glamour which reality would render disappointed. Sometimes it wasnʼt even the face, for people were cautious of revealing themselves even then. A glimpse of a boot, maybe. Equally evocative would be the copy. Very terse and to the point but with enough salaciousness to get you to write the first letter.

That would be sent to the publisher of the magazine in an envelope with the number of the advertiser written outside, not forgetting a stamp addressed envelope back to oneself. It would be then forwarded on to the said advertiser.

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And wait for the reply, sometimes weeks. And sometimes no reply to your letter at all. But if a reply came -oh joy! (I heard from one of my contacts his reply letter was opened by a flatmate and considerable hilarity ensued in his college)
The reply would generally be business-like and a point of contact established, maybe even a time of meeting was arranged with a landline number – no mobiles remember.
Did you even dare pick up the phone to make a call?
Once an appointment was made it was definitely kept. After so much effort made in securing the meeting the only thing preventing an appointment from being kept would be death itself. Even a relative’s funeral or a countrywide blizzard would not have prevented the appointment from going ahead.

Trusting to luck

Any sort of verification in either of these was too cumbrous to be considered and people just trusted to their luck, client and mistress alike. Unbelievable the risks taken but the youthful urge propelled you through.

The risks of indiscretions were localised. A mad letter written feverishly at night with all kinds of confessions would merely be discarded in the bin by the other party, not indiscreetly splashed all over social media for anyone in the world to read for ever and ever.
Moreover you could not hope to meet someone who would cater to your exact fetish as easily as today so you hoped you found a mistress flexible enough to understand what you desired. Most were trained to take on all “comers”.

The great difference was that there was so very little information to go on whereas nowadays there is just too much info, with a race to the bottom to provide as much content as possible about the mistress, resulting in jadedness and half heartedness. But that was just how it was..nobody thought it an effort .

This memory of the past is not nostalgia for the good old days but rather the opposite. In a way they were the bad old days. In spite of all the current laws now hemming in free communication on the Net, people can and will communicate so much easier now and are more likely to meet the right people who respond to their own interests. However threatened one might feel these days the Internet has made communication possible in a way inconceivable in the days of my youth. Will those dark days ever return?
I personally donʼt think so.This may be the end of a golden age but not the start of a dark age.
Unless the whole internet disappears?

 

My U.S. writer colleague Irv O’Neil has just written a blog post about his own pre-Internet experiences in New York. And check out his fine femdom fiction while you are there!

Reminiscences of Wicked Old Soho

This nostalgic post will not mean much to most people – except perhaps to men of my generation who had to live through such a deprived era and have seen how the Internet has changed everything we know.

sohomapNow in my sixties I am sitting outside a cafe on Old Compton St in London’s notorious Soho district. Or it least it was notorious. Today, much like Times Square in New York – as I understand – it is completely cleaned up and un-notorious with only a few shops remaining of the once prevalent sex trade, now mostly catering for the gay pound. It changed not through any heavy legal crack-down but, like a lot else, through the changes brought by the onset of the Internet removing the need to go out to buy porn magazines, books and movies.

Over thirty years back it was completely different. Then I would never have sat outside a cafe and would have been very cautious of even coming in by daylight – but then I had a guilty conscience. A shopping trip to Soho was a furtive affair usually made under cover of darkness, armed with a shoulder bag, and planned with a clear itinerary so as to quickly move in and out of doorways.

My own particular interest here was for books, magazines and the predecessor to DVDs and videos – Super 8 films.

Moving swiftly inside the shop you’d be pressed against a heaving mass of tightly pressed male flesh with barely enough room to jostle your way through to the shelves. Many men – it was always just men- were simply browsing with no intention of buying. Occasional ineffectual calls from management failed to shift them. Of course I always bought something – even at the outrageous prices they changed. Kink commanded higher prices with 10 pounds being usual for a magazine -a lot for a young man in those days.

With my burgeoning interest in kink and the bizarre I had my own favourite haunts:-
1. Swish publications
My main port of call. CP with a femdom bias selling their own “Madame” magazine, “Sadie Stern” magazines and even a few ripped-off and pasted together collections of Namio Harukawa drawings.

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Site of the Swish shop-now fashionable dining : Greek St.

2. Janus Bookshop
Mostly catering to CP erotica with more of an emphasis on subfem, stocking its own magazines including Janus, Roué and others.

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The Janus shop- now a trendy clothing outlet: Old Compton St

3. Lovejoys
Commanding a presence along Charing Cross Road, the ground floor was nominally a book shop but a discreet staircase downstairs led to a wonderful treasure trove. Not so much kink but best stocked general erotica.

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Site of Lovejoys -still an adult shop but not half as interesting! : Charing Cross Rd

4. Unnamed
I cannot remember the name of this one. Cut off in an alley in Chinatown it was one of the first I discovered and may have been Swish before they moved. Can anyone enlighten?

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Kinky sex shop -name unremembered-now Chinese souvenirs: Newport Court

5. Original Soho Bookshop One of the last bookshops now standing, stocked mostly with DVDs and a few magazines or books. Very little fetish and most gay-oriented. In the spirit of “research” I bought one product for old times sake but without much enthusiasm.

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The Original Soho Book Shop: Brewer St