Crude drawings of penises, shots of skateboarders, and sensuous images of the male form help make up Chomp, a Japanese DIY magazine. Created by Mitsu Sucks (born Mitsuhrio Kawano) Chomp is a Japanese street art and culture magazine – with a queer twist. Mitsu began the magazine in 2011, in an attempt to fill the space for an alternative queer perspective in Japan. Identifying as a zine, an independent, do-it-yourself publication, Chomp thrives in it’s own freedom. While there is no shortage of fashion and art zines in Japan, Chomp focuses instead on a raunchy subculture where nude photographs can be viewed next to in depth interviews.
The variation in the content Chomp is what helps it become such a unique collection of pieces. Interspersed with photography and art are various interviews with real people opening up about their sexuality. “How a person talks about sex says a lot about them. Answers vary so much from one person to another” Mitsu recently explained to Vice, “I hope people see the diversity within the queer community and beyond. Because even if you identify with a certain group, you’re still a unique individual. That’s a universal thing.”
In just four issues Chomp has established itself as a genre bending publication committed to featuring work from a variety of unpredictable artists. Issue four contains pieces from graphic illustrator and videographer James Unsworth as well as multimedia artist Naoki Shoji. Chomp is remarkable because of it’s cross cultural mash up; it exists on an intersection of skate and queer culture. The highly masculine world of skateboarding, and the straight boys who are the centerpieces, don’t necessarily seem related but Chomp jumps beyond initial expectations to show complex intricacies. Mitsu – and Chomp itself – insert themselves into the scene by finding queerness and strangeness in unexpected places.
Finding itself amongst a thriving diy zine culture in Japan, Chomp is an unmistakable look into the sensuality and banality of everyday street art. As their statement says, Chomp is about “people who love life, follow their own rules, & the ideas and art they come up with along the way.”