Ishihara Gojin: “The Norman Rockwell of Japan”

Pink Tentacle recently posted a glut of gorgeously creepy children’s book illustrations by Ishihara Gōjin (or Gōjin Ishihara). A prolific illustrator in post-WWII  Tokyo, the man has been repeatedly referred to as “The Norman Rockwell of Japan”. Which, of course, in the context of drawings of shrieking children being terrorized by human-headed snakes and anus-gobbling demonic turtle men, is pretty goshdarn special.

The first several images in Pink Tentacle’s  gallery of Ishihara Gōjin’s work “appeared in the Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters (1972), which profiled supernatural creatures from Japanese legend. The other illustrations appeared in various educational and entertainment-oriented publications for children.” But wait, there’s more! Soooo much more.

Kiddie yokai and sci-fi are only the beginning. Delve a little deeper, and you’ll discover that in addition to creating monstrous children’s fare, Ishihara Gōjin adapted the story of famed samurai Yagyū Jūbēi, which this manga reviewer describes as “Norman Rockwell drawing a manga series…about a gay love affair between Abraham Lincoln and a lean-hipped, square-jawed cowboy”.  He’s also the mastermind behind this utterly mind-rending, eye-melting, Joe Coleman-would-be-proud cover of  issue 2 of The Seikimatsu Club manga:

Lessee now…  Charlie Manson’s got Sharon Tate in a chokehold while rubbing elbows with members of the Klu Klux Klan, and there’s benevolent ol’ Jim Jones, and AUM Shinrikyō’s Asahara Shōko on the cross… Alex SandersYa Ho Wha 13Anton LaVey (and barnyard pals), Deguchi OnisaburoRuth Norman (speak of the Atlantian!), and last but not least… Aleister Crowley? Holy fucking shitballs.

Then there are these oddly scintillating depictions of the Mario Brothers:

Quivering brainmeats not yet liquified? Observe more embolism-inducing imagery after the jump. Apologies in advance for the lack of English titles and references–  most of the scans were ganked from an incredible Japanese language shrine to Ishihara Gojin. Also, sure to read the in-depth feature over at Comipress covering his visionary career.

6 Responses to “Ishihara Gojin: “The Norman Rockwell of Japan””

  1. Santnamor2013 Says:

    WOW! So great….

  2. Nikki Says:

    Wow, those are awesome.

  3. Justin Says:

    These pictures are great and a little disturbing, in a good way.

  4. Paul Komoda Says:

    I grew up with this guy’s artwork without really knowing who he was, as he had done some astounding illustrations for books on Ultraman in the 70’s.
    I’m the proud owner of that Japanese Monster book, which is displayed on my shelf as I write this.
    The image of the crucified Asahara is quite disturbing!

  5. Nadya Says:

    Mind = blown. Thanks, Mer.

  6. Engulfed by the seaside | Infernal Wonders Says:

    […] damsel devoured by toothed and tentacled beast is the work of Gojin Ishihara, a prolific 1970s Japanese illustrator. You can find it among many more of his works here. […]