And now for their next trick they'll turn the tide of war.
First off, the cross you see at the bottom of this poster is not a swastika but a much older Japanese symbol. It's usually seen oriented as above, or, rarely, reversed like the Nazis used it, but in all cases has religious, historical, or pop culture meanings. We've talked about it. The poster was made for the period roman porno flick Kunoichi ninpo: Hyakka manji-garami, known as English as Female Ninja Magic: 100 Trampled Flowers. The movie is set in a time of warring clans during the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan beginning in 1603, and as the title suggests, a female ninja clan uses sexual magic to try and turn the tide of war between the powerful Tsunayoshi shoguns and the Akizuki clan. Working for the shogunate are the Iga and Kouga ninja clans, while aiding the Akizuki are the Fumi, the women of the title.
That's a more elaborate set-up than usual for a roman porno movie, and indeed, this one will require more than the usual level of attention to keep straight. It takes its historical trappings seriously, with a convincing pre-industrial look, elaborate period dress, and a focus on succession by birth. But don't fret, fans of the genre—the movie is weird as hell, as roman pornos must be, and you'll be pleased to know that a virtual who's-who of Nikkatsu Studios stars feature, including Junko Miyashita, Hitomi Kozue, Yuko Katagiri, Kyōko Kanō, Maya Hiromi, and Yuri Yamashina. What exactly is sexual magic? Let's just say there's plenty of vaginal fluid involved, of varying viscosities, used in numerous ways. There's other bizarreness too, including an umbilical cord that strikes like a cobra. We don't think the Tokugawa era actually unfolded this way, but to paraphrase the immortal Wooderson, it'd be a lot cooler if it did. Kunoichi ninpo: Hyakka manji-garami premiered in Japan today in 1974
She helps her co-workers in whatever ways she can.
We've had this poster hanging around for a few years, but never uploaded it, hoping we'd eventually find the film and be able to talk about it, but no such luck. In fact, we couldn't even find a detailed plot summary online, so it has all the hallmarks of a lost film. Things like that happen. Anyway, here's a beautiful promo for OL nikki mitsuryô (asaru), which starred Hitomi Kozue and Junko Miyashita, and was known in English as Office Lady Diary: Poaching. It was part of the popular Office Lady series, which ran to six films in its original incarnation, before being reconstituted for a later set. Like we said a few days ago, no idea in cinema goes unrecycled for long. Especially successful ideas. We have a few more Office Lady posters here, here, and here, and another stunning promo image of Hitomi Kozue below. OL nikki mitsuryô (asaru) premiered in Japan today in 1973.
She gets her best work done during overtime.
Above, a beautiful poster for Danchizuma wasureenu yoru, known in English as Apartment Wife: Unforgettable Night. The wife in this third entry in the Apartment Wife series is Junko Miyashita. The plot is typically convoluted, but basically she's sexually unfulfilled by her hubby and finds pleasure in an anonymous office encounter. Her repeated trysts with this person leave her vulnerable to blackmail of sorts, and— Actually, it's really hard to describe this without giving everything away. Let's just call it a twisted sexual awakening tale with an ironic ending. Which is what most of the Apartment Wife movies are. This one premiered in Japan today in 1972.
When they say they're getting together to enjoy some girl time it may not be as innocent as it sounds.
Above, a poster for Tsumatachi no Gogo Wa Yori: Kano no Ori, which is quite a mouthful that in English was simplified to Cage of Lust: Wives’ Afternoon. The movie was adapted from a novel by Hiroko Nakayama and starred Junko Miyashita in a tale of infidelity, deception, lesbianism, etc. It's a typical Nikkatsu Studios effort, quick and easy at 72 minutes from end to end. It premiered in Japan today in 1976.
That moment when you realize your neighbors have known all along you've been watching them.
Above, a poster for Danchizuma: Kanki no yoru, aka Apartment Wife: Night of Pleasure, starring Junko Miyashita, Tatsuya Hamaguchi, and Masumi Jun. This is of course another Nikkatsu roman porno romp, with all that the label suggests. This entry was seventh in a franchise that eventually totaled twenty-one films. It premiered in Japan today in 1973.
They could not resist when they saw little Nikki grind.
Back to an actual Japanese poster today, with this promo for the roman porno movie OL nikki: Waisetsuna kankei, aka Office Lady Journal: Indecent Relations, which is about two female co-workers who totally shred company rules against fraternization. Is that even the right word when it's two women? Maybe we should go with consorting. Neither is named Nikki, by the way, though we have to thank Prince for the assist there. They're actually named Mina and Aki. Nikki means “diary” or “journal.” This is yet more output from Nikkatsu Studios, more edgy weirdness from Junko Miyashita and Akemi Nijô, and another plot way too complicated to summarize. But even if we did would it matter? By now you know whether this is your thing. Decide accordingly. OL nikki: Waisetsuna kankei premiered in Japan today in 1975.
When they say love hurts they aren't kidding.
This wintry poster for Hakkinbon bijin ranbu yori: semeru!, aka Beauty's Exotic Dance: Torture! shows star Junko Miyashita looking miserable and cold. Which actually happens in the movie. It tells the story of an artist who engages a prostitute to satiate his need for sadistic sex, which he uses to fuel his art. The prostitute, Miyashita, is a consensual partner in all this, wanting to please the artist and out-do his dearly departed wife. You gets lots of drawn out sadism involving rope bondage, asphyxiation, ice baths, scaldings with candle wax, and more. And if that isn't dark and weird enough already, matters take a really nasty turn when Miyashita turns out to have inherited something unusual from her mother. If you watch the movie, don't say we didn't warn you. Hakkinbon bijin ranbu yori: semeru! premiered in Japan today in 1977.
You can't keep a good girl down.
This dramatic poster was made for Nikutai no mon, aka Gate of Flesh, a movie based on a 1947 novel by Japanese author Taijirô Tamura. The book has been filmed five times. The most famous version was made in 1968 with Jo Shishido and Yumiko Nogawa earning acclaim for their lead roles in what was a serious and artistic film, but the above promo is for the 1977 roman porno version starring Reiko Kayama, Izumi Shima, and Junko Miyahsita. Needless to say, the two films diverge rather sharply. However, we need to point out, as we do periodically, that roman porno isn't porno—it's softcore. The “roman” in roman porno is short for “romantic,” and though the movies aren't typically romantic in the normal sense, they aren't explicit. Such depictions were illegal in Japan back then, and remain so today (though filmmakers use pixilation of sexual organs to skirt the law).
When the novel Nikutai no mon appeared in 1947 a different censorship regime existed called the Civil Censorship Detachment, which was under the authority of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, aka Douglas MacArthur. Under SCAP CCD censorship, explicit accounts of fraternization between Japanese and whites were forbidden, as were detailed accounts of the atomic bombings, or anything that could generate distrust toward the American occupiers. Most Japanese authors obeyed. A few wrote obliquely about the forbidden subjects. And a very few broke the rules entirely to describe war horrors—e.g. flashburned nuclear victims walking naked and blind amongst the ruins, their hairless bodies so swollen their sex could not be determined. Tamura's novel falls in the middle. It tells the story of a group of Japanese women trying to survive in the rubble of Tokyo via prostitution.
Where the 1968 movie stuck pretty close to Tamura's fiction, the roman porno focuses more on the sexploitation angle, though it keeps the action set in 1947. A criminal syndicate known as Black Rose provides Japanese girls as prostitutes to the American military, and any who resist the various examinations, training, and indignities are punished with torture and death. When Reiko Kayama arrives on the scene, she eventually inspires the others to follow her as she leads a revolt against her enslavers. You get sex, girlfights, killings, and blood. If you're looking for standard roman porno fare—with perhaps a bit more visual piazazz than usual thanks to director Shôgorô Nishimura and cinematographer Yoshihiro Yamazaki—you've picked the right film. Nikutai no mon premiered in Japan today in 1977.
When it's wet outside get wet inside.
This poster was made to promote the roman porno flick Danchizuma Amayadori no Joji, which is generally known in English by the title Apartment Wife: Rainy Day Affair, but also by the more lyrical title Apartment Wife: Take Shelter from the Rain. Bored housewife Junko Miyashita attends a reunion, which sets off an affair with an ex-classmate. Sex, liberation, betrayal, consequences. Oh, and lots of rain. But the thing about rain is that the sun always comes out eventually, and Miyashita knows exactly what to do when that happens. See below. Danchizuma Amayadori no Joji—also starring Yu Mizuki, who we last saw here—premiered in Japan today in 1977.
She always had a problem letting go.
This could be a Pulp Intl. first—a Japanese movie where a foreign poster is the nicest version out there. Usually the Japanese whip all competing asses in the poster design department, but just this once the Italian iteration is better, probably because it was painted by Enrico de Seta, one of the best illustrators of the period. The movie is Jitsuroku Abe Sada, which was called in Italian Abesada—L'abisso dei sensi. That means “Abesada—abyss of the senses,” but the English title decided upon was actually A Woman Called Sada Abe. The story tracks real-life murderer Sada Abe, who habitually practiced sexual asphyxiation with her lover Kichizo Ishida, and in 1936 strangled him to death with the sash of her obi. The sensational story grew into an epic folk legend, interpreted by painters, writers, and poets, and when Japan's roman porno film genre came along the incident was a perfect fit.
Jitsuroku Abe Sada was one of several films to tackle the subject. In real life, Sada followed up her killing of Ishida by castrating the corpse and fleeing with the severed organ. The movie covers this aspect of the incident too, and eventually ends with Sada's arrest. The real life Sada was convicted of murder and other crimes, but despite begging to be executed was sentenced to prison, released after a few years, and went on to live four more interesting decades. We won't go so far as to recommend Jitsuroku Abe Sada. It has its worthwhile points, among them the reliable Junko Miyahsita in the lead, but if you're going to watch a telling of the Sada Abe incident, maybe try the more famous and more explicit In the Realm of the Senses, which appeared in 1976. Jitsuroku Abe Sada premiered in Japan today in 1975.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1951—Churchill Becomes Prime Minster Again
The Conservative Party wins the British general election, making Winston Churchill prime minister for the second time. Churchill is nearly 76 at the time, making him the second oldest prime minister in history after William Gladstone. Churchill remains PM until 1955, when he steps down at 81 due to ill health.
1964—The Night Caller Is Executed
In Australia, Eric Edgar Cooke, who had earned the nickname Night Caller, is hanged after being convicted of murder. He had terrorized Perth for four years, committing 22 violent crimes, eight of which resulted in deaths. He becomes the last person to be executed in Western Australia.
1938—Archbishop Denounces Dance Music
The Archbishop of Dubuque, Francis J. L. Beckman, makes headlines in the U.S. when he attacks swing music as a degenerated musical system destined to gnaw away at the moral fiber of young people. His denouncement follows on the heels of the music being banned in Germany due to its African and Jewish origins.
1993—Vincent Price Dies
American actor Vincent Price, who had achieved the height of his fame acting in low budget horror movies, and became famous again as the macabre voice in Michael Jackson's song "Thriller," dies at age 82 of complications from emphysema and Pariknson's disease.
1929—Stock Market Crashes
Black Thursday, a catastrophic crash on the New York Stock Exchange, occurs when the value of stocks suddenly declines and continues to decline for a month. The event leads to a subsequent crash in world stock prices and precipitates the Great Depression. This after famous economist Irving Fisher had declared that stock prices had reached a permanently high plateau.
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