Forget everything you thought you knew about squid porn. What's that? You didn't? Oh, well allow me to introduce to you Daikichi Amano - straddling the line between art photos and hardcore porn by way of cephalapods. It has been alleged that this bizarre fetishism resulted from Japanese censorship laws, which prohibit genitalia shots (tentacles being obvious substitutes for penises).
Daikichi has his own studio called Genki Genki (it means 'good feeling', and their English motto is 'The strange label which flees in phantom') where he makes all kinds of weird films and photos involving girls with bugs, frogs, goldfish and eels.... all of which they eat afterwards, to avoid wasteful animal cruelty. He called me from Japan just to thank me for the interview, and apologise for his bad English. We felt we'd only be taking something away if we re-translated him though. In fact we wish everyone spoke like this.
How did you get started?
In the beginning, there was not a conception of the work in which the creature and the woman are connected with.
When I was taking bestiality photograph with a dog, I felt personally averse to the photography with the animal where the hair grew and it became not possible to take this. Because I am of the pet preference with a dog, a cat, and a rabbit at the parents' home, it is proper might as well.
Only when I think of other ways, the conception that the creature on the sea and the woman to have made the clamminess of the eel, the loach, and the octopus which are handled as the food and so on in Japan was born. Because I felt that the relation was amusing and that it was lascivious and then beautiful, I think that it continues.
Do your parents know about this?
Yes, they know.
When I told that to them first, they were secured because they were introduced to my work not as criminal but as art.
Because I had strong interest in sex from the school child age, I sneaked in to the ladies' room. I knew I had been disliked by the girls in the class, and also it became impossible to take out a large amount of toy (minicar and eraser) put in the anus and I was taken to the hospital by my parents. When I wanted to experience the orgasm with the anus and the anus was groped while sitting straight, I slept as I was, and the nerve of the foot started being cut, and I was carried by the ambulance. Because I was putting inconvenience on the parents each time, I think that I was making them anxious.
You work was recently shown in the Mondo Bizzarro gallery, Rome. Do you think having work in a gallery marks you as an artist rather than a pornographer? How would you classify yourself?
Whether an artist or pornographer, I think that the people who have an interest in my work should decide. Only, in the opportunity for the people who don't usually see porn to see it increases, I feel that there is a meaning to be classified as an artist, too. However, as for the way of taking a picture, the pornography and the art are the same.
What do you think is the strangest thing you've ever made?
It is rather the scenes that are strangest and shocking than the work itself. I have strong memories of all works and it brands my mind with the smell in that case. I saw a frog which opened the stomach and internal organs were taken from jumping for about 30 minutes. I saw a cockroach that had head and the body separated with the surprise and scary when having begun to run with the head and the body in separate directions. The scorpion is like the shrimp in the taste, and there was feeling that the grig (Ed - some kind of nasty bug) was quite delicious as it is like the almond, too.
While they are a delicate creatures, really, they have surprisingly strong vital energies, too. I think that the photography feel alive rather than the sex when attempting to look back.
As for the memories that came on the site, a fire broke out in the building next to the picture-taking studio, and the actors and the staff should have taken shelter to the outside with frogs' internal organs and blood stuck, and the rescue team came up while onlookers who gathered to see it, screaming, running up were almost transported to the hospital, which was interesting.
Is there anything you'd consider 'too extreme' to shoot?
I don't know by what the other persons feel too extreme a photography but I myself think that I am taking photographs because there is not a consciousness too extreme. The work which shows the expression of "sex" by the sex act by man and woman is overflowing in the world and doesn't have an interest as the viewpoint to enjoy by it. The one such as sex is to be personally done and should be much better for it. As for movies, there is the movie of the setting like a lie and the fantasy movie, too? Mine isn't different from those, being sensuous.
How would you address criticisms that your work is exploitative?
Fortunately I don't hear such criticism at my ear. Only, I don't have the intention of slighting a life at all. Rather, I feel respect for their life after I have started the photography of them. The creature which is used for the photography is the one used for food, thinking of the body of the actress, too. Because so it is, it has sometimes eaten if left, too.
What would you like to do in the future?
The exhibition by Mondo Bizzarro in Italy ended safely, too. In September, in Bongout which is in Germany, we wait for the publishing of the photograph collection, too, as well as the exhibition at the same time. By opening exhibitions and so on in the by-and-by in a variety of cities, I want to impress many people.
See more of Daikichi's photos at his website www.daikichiamano.com