Whispering Catastrophe
On the language of men loving men in Japan

Authors: Jacopo Miliani, Sara Giannini
Copy-editing: Becket Flannery

SelfPleasurePublishing, Milan
In collaboration with OuUnPo

ISBN: 978-91-984270-0-4
500 copies
Year: 2018

Whispering Catastrophe is the fourth volume released by SelfPleasurePublishing, an independent editorial project about homosexuality and language initiated and run by Miliani since 2014. SelfPleasurePublishing does not have a regular distribution. Every book enters circulation through special performances and events.

Whispering Catastrophe is the outcome of a collaboration between artist Jacopo Miliani and curator Sara Giannini. Together they propose a trajectory through different definitions concerning man-to-man love in Japan with a specific focus on visual censorship of the male body, non-normative eroticism, and the history of ‘queer’ publishing. 

From the erotic whispers of legendary gay activist Tōgō Ken, to the occult images of the magazine Le Sang et La Rose, the book follows the movements of a language that constantly adopts and transforms names, telling us that what we are not is much more important than what we are. Inspired by the constant reference to Greek antiquity in Japanese gay imagery, the legacy of this shifting language is addressed by the authors through the metaphor of the Catastrophe, the final act of Greek drama which turns things upside down.

Whispering Catastrophe presents five original essays by Giannini and Miliani, as well as several illustrations featuring old and rare underground magazines, books, and other visual materials by renowned photographers such as Tamotsu Yatō and more underground figures such as Kurō Haga.