Suehiro Maruo  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Maruo Suehiro (Maruo Suehiro), born January 28, 1956 in Nagasaki, Japan, is a Japanese manga artist, illustrator, and painter.



Maruo graduated from junior high school in March of 1972 but dropped out of senior high school. At the age of 15 he moved to Tokyo and began working for a bookbinder. At 17, he made his first manga submission to Shonen Jump, but it was considered by the editors to be too graphic for the weekly magazine's format and was subsequently rejected. Maruo temporarily removed himself from manga until November of 1980 when he made his official debut as a manga artist in Ribon no Kishi at the age of 24. It was at this stage that the young artist was finally able to pursue his artistic vision without such stringent restrictions over the visual content of his work. Two years later, his first stand-alone anthology, Barairo no Kaibutsu (Rose Colored Monster) was published.

Maruo was a frequent contributor to the legendary underground manga magazine Garo.

Like many manga artists, Maruo sometimes makes cameo appearances in his own stories. When photographed, he seldom appears without his trademark sunglasses.

Though most prominently known for his work as a manga artist, Maruo has also produced illustrations for concert posters, CD Jackets, magazines, novels, and various other media. Some of his characters have been made into figures as well.

Though relatively few of Maruo's manga have been published outside of Japan, his work enjoys a cult following abroad.

His book Shōjo Tsubaki (aka Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show) has been adapted into an animated film by Hiroshi Harada with a soundtrack by J.A. Seazer, but it has received very little release. In Europe it was marketed under the name Midori, after the main character. It was recently released on DVD in France by Cinemalta (the DVD includes English subtitles).


Many of Maruo's illustrations depict graphic sex and violence and are therefore referred to as contemporary muzan-e (a subset of Japanese ukiyo-e depicting violence or other atrocities.) Maruo himself featured in a 1988 book on the subject with fellow artist Kazuichi Hanawa entitled Bloody Ukiyo-e, presenting their own contemporary works alongside the traditional prints of Yoshitoshi and Yoshiku.

Maruo's nightmarish manga fall into the Japanese category of "erotic grotesque" ("ero-guro"). The stories often take place in the early years of Showa Era Japan. Maruo also has a fascination with human oddities, deformities, birth defects, and "circus freaks." Many such characters figure prominently in his stories and are sometimes the primary subjects of his illustrations.

John Zorn's Naked City

Composer John Zorn used Suehiro illustrations for the liner art of his band Naked City's albums. Zorn has contributed the foreword to Suehiro's latest collection of works (published in 2005).

List of Printed Works (Published Outside Japan)

United States

  • Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show (少女椿) published by Blast Books. ISBN 0-922233-06-3
  • Ultra-Gash Inferno (selected short works) published by Creation Books. ISBN 1-84068-039-3
  • Comics Underground Japan (anthology including Maruo's story "Planet of the Jap") published by Blast Books. ISBN 0-922233-16-0
  • How to Rake Leaves published by Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-880656-07-8
  • How to Take a Japanese Bath published by Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 0-9628137-9-6


  • O Vampiro que Ri (笑う吸血鬼) published by Conrad Editora. ISBN 85-7616-045-5
  • Paraíso: O Sorriso do Vampiro (ハライソ 笑う吸血鬼2) published by Conrad Editora. ISBN 85-7616-196-6
  • Ero-Guro, o erótico grotesco de Suehiro Maruo published by Conrad Editora. ISBN 85-7616-135-




  • Midori, La ragazza delle Camelie (少女椿) published by Coconino Press.
  • Il Vampiro che ride (笑う吸血鬼) published by Coconino Press.
  • Notte putrescente (selected short works) published by Coconino Press.


  • El Monstruo de Color de Rosa (薔薇色ノ怪物) published by Glénat.
  • Midori: La Niña de las Camelias (少女椿) published by Glénat.
  • Dr. Inugami (犬神博士) published by Glénat.
  • Gichi Gichi Kid (ギチギチくん) published by Glénat.
  • Lunatic Lover's published by Glénat.
  • La Sonrisa del Vampiro (笑う吸血鬼) published by Glénat.
  • La Sonrisa del Vampiro 2: Paraíso (ハライソ 笑う吸血鬼2) published by Glénat.
  • DDT published by Ediciones Otaku Manga. ISBN 84-96172-68-6. September 2004.
  • New National Kid published by Ediciones Otaku Manga. June 2004.

Figures and Toys

  • 人間豹と少年探偵 (ningenhyō to shōnen tantei) The Leopard-man and the Young Detectives produced by Eastpress (イーストプレス) of Japan
  • 少女椿 (shōjo midori) Young Girl Midori 18cm figure produced by Artstorm (アート・ストーム) of Japan

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Suehiro Maruo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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