As soon as we sat down with the erotic manga artist Toshio Maeda, also known as “tentacle master,” he repeatedly asked about our readers: “I just want to know how I should speak.” He clarified that he wanted to know how much he should sanitize his words. We said we wanted him to be nothing but himself. With a mischievous smile, Maeda warned again, “My language is full of shit. Just so you know, OK?”
APA chats with Toshio Maeda to talk tentacles and how his sexual curiosity has helped him develop his work.
This interview contains subject matter that may not be appropriate for those under 18.
APA: What inspired you to pursue a career in creating erotic manga?
Maeda: When I was 20, I had to decide where I was going to go with my art. I considered working on magazines for boys or women, but you can usually only last 10 years in that field because there are so many up and coming young artists. Things can change very quickly there. That’s why I decided to be a manga artist for grownups. I figured I could have a 30 year career. But after I debuted as a manga artist for grownups, so many different magazines for boys, women and even educational ones offered me work. I simultaneously did them all. I’d say I’m a jack of all trades, but master of none. Maybe master of tentacles. [laughs] I’m joking.
APA: You mentioned that you do all kinds of work, not just erotic manga. Has your reputation as a pioneer in erotic manga genre impacted other opportunities?
Maeda: In Japan, it’s nothing. When I say I do erotic manga, nobody seems to care. They just say, “Oh, that’s cool.” So, I can do many other kinds of work at the same time. They don’t really give a shit and I dont give a rat’s ass either. [laughs] When people see my art, they see it as my career; it is not me.
APA: How is it that you became known as the tentacle master?
Maeda: I’m known for my use of tentacles in my works. The purpose was to deal with censorship. When I first came up with the idea, censorship of adult magazines was so strict. When a man and a woman were in bed together, they had to be apart. How can you have sex with no physical contact? So, I invented tentacle scenes. Tentacles are long and they can reach. Tentacles are not genitals, I’d say; they’re a part of the body. Humans can’t have such long tentacles, so they’re monsters. Men only have one [penis], but even after having sex, you feel so tired. But now you have several tentacles? And you used them all? You’d faint or just die. Instantly die. [laughs]
APA: But if he’s a monster, maybe he can last longer.
Maeda: You’re right. Think about another thing. In the morning, men have morning wood. But if you have morning wood with tentacles, then you’d be floating. You wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom, so you’d just leak on the spot. [laughs]
APA: Did you come up with the tentacle idea to solely go around censorship rules? Is that the only reason why?
Maeda: What’s nice about the tentacle scenes is that the woman’s body can float in the air. It allows you to draw the scene from many different angles. As an artist, it’s really interesting and fun to do, so it’s a win-win situation.And you know, a man’s fantasy is having a big, thick longer one [penis]. In my work, you can have many of them.
APA: What has helped you develop your work?
Maeda: Once I was a reporter for what we call a “delivery club.” It’s like clubs that deliver ladies working for the night. I was a bit interested in writing about it, so every single month, I just did it with a professional. You know, Japanese people are really into doing kinky stuff. Sometimes pregnant ladies came, sometimes there was breastfeeding play, and even young ladies who have big ones [penises], with one who almost raped me. I was begging and crying, “Please no.” At that time, I had a hemorrhoid problem. She ordered, “Fine. Then, you have to suck my dick.”
APA: How did you feel about that?
Maeda: I did it. It was kind of salty. Men probably don’t know it that men’s is so salty, not like lady’s nectar. It was an eye opener. I learned things as a reporter and manga artist. I’m Curious George. [laughs]
APA: Can you share with us what you’re working on now?
Maeda: Before, I was a principal of a manga school. I quit because I think I’m an anti-social man. I can’t be a small cog in a big machine, so I’m a freelancer. I don’t know what’s next.
APA: What about end of year goals?
Maeda: It’s the graveyard. I already have one foot in my grave. It’s my goal to come back as a zombie tentacle man.
APA: So you’re already on your way.
Maeda: Yes, crawling.
APA: Then you can be the first zombie tentacle artist.
Maeda: Yes, I hope so. [laughs]
Images by Toshio Maeda and photo taken by Nicole Chang