1001 nights is not nearly enough time with Ayako Meki, Erina Miyai, and Izumi Shima.
A few years ago we shared an ultra rare tateken promo for the 1001 Nights inspired roman porno flick Tokyo eros senya ichiya. That poster was a follow-up to a standard poster we'd shared back in 2017. In both cases the movie was unavailable for us to watch. Well, above you see a magazine page featuring the movie's co-star Ayako Meki. This isn't directly a promo for the film, but she's dressed in character. The text says “because you look 21,” which is weird, and goes on to describe her as “an exciting new power.” We're showing this to you because the movie premiered today in 1979, and this time we did have a copy to watch.
Known in English as Eros Nights in Tokyo, the story here involves lonely young Kiyoyasu Adachi and three women in his life—Izumi Shima, Ayako Meki, and Erina Miyai. We can't fault the guy's taste, but we do take exception to his methods. He succumbs to creepy urges such as spying on Shima (who's his stepmother), attempting to force a kiss upon Meki (which devolves into a full-scale perv attack), and looking up the skirt of Miyai (who's mentally disabled). Later he grows a bit more subtle in his attempts to indulge his urges, such as when he convinces Shima to accept a personalized wash, full body massage, and more. After that nipply nuru session, his stepmom is fully on board with further advances.
By now it's clear to the viewer that fantasy has overtaken reality for Adachi. We've seen this line crossed in numerous films, and it's usually a subtle trip across the border. When did it happen here? It's hard to be sure, but probably sometime after Adachi was chased by a policeman that somehow multiplied into an entire Keystone Kops style squad, and sometime before he was showered with a fortune in gold coins from a fountain.
All this stuff is mostly played for laughs, and indeed there are some legitimately funny moments, though not nearly as many as the filmmakers intended. We're talking about a Nikkatsu Studios roman porno production, which means that even as comedy it has the usual trappings of that genre, and those trappings just aren't humorous. For example, there's an attempted gang rape, which Adachi foils in full gangster mode, as the entire situation morphs into a set piece right out of American grindhouse cinema. Funny? No. Creative. For sure.
As we've mentioned before, by 1979 Nikkatsu was trying new ideas for its roman porno line, and Tokyo eros senya ichiya certainly qualifies. It's hard to judge such an outrageous flick objectively, so we won't try except to say that it's well made, as these films always are. We will mention, though, that we were disappointed none of the stars wore a harem costume. It turns out that 1001 Nights was a more oblique inspiration than we assumed. Have a look at the other posters here and here and you'll see what we expected. Do we recommend the film? Yes, of course. It has Izumi Shima. Full stop.
She's someone you really don't want to cross.
Above: two excellent posters for Onna shikaku manji, aka Mankiller, aka Eternal Killer Woman, which premiered today in 1969 starring Junko Miyazuno. You notice the swastika-looking graphic and the simlar tattoo on Junko's thigh? It's actually a symbol that predates Adolf and the Hitlerians, as we explained a while back at this post. We've had these posters for several years but had no luck finding the movie, so we finally gave up and decided to just upload the art. We think it's worth sharing even without info about the film, and hopefully you think so too.
You'll really believe a girl boss can fly.
Above: an alternate poster for Document porno: Shin sukeban, which is a roman porno flick from Nikkatsu Studios that in English was called Semi Documentary: Truly High School Girl Boss. It premiered in Japan today in 1973. The poster is worth sharing mainly because it features a different—and more modest—martial arts kick than on the tateken promo we showed you before. What do we mean by more modest? Look here and find out.
They call her Marii—Daati Marii.
Above is a promotional poster in tatekan size for Sukeban Deka: daati Marii, which premiered in Japan today in 1974 and was known in English as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary. Obviously, the character is based on Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, and the name is phonetically spelled to assist Japanese pronunciation. Way back when we first talked about this flick we were able to watch it free online, but that boat has since sailed over the horizon. Now you'll have to watch it on Amazon Japan, which probably doesn't do you much good unless you speak Japanese. We wish we'd taken a few screenshots from the movie back then, but we were in a hurry that day. It's certainly worth a watch, should the opportunity arise. You can read a bit more about it here. As a bonus, we have some Kozue promo images below. Typically, she made nude photos, and indeed, we've already posted many and have others that are flat-out unbelievable which we'll share later. But today we wanted to show her in casual mode. You see her below, hanging out in Tokyo's Omiya Park.
Serious trouble just rolled into town.
Furyô banchô: Ikkaku senkin, for which you see a killer poster above, was known in English as Wolves of the City: Fast Money, or sometimes Wolves of the City: Instant Fortune. It starred Tatsuo Umemiya, Reiko Oshida, and Bunta Sugawara, and we hear it's good, but we weren't able to find it to watch. We may circle back to it, though, because we located more promo art Toei Company made for it—for example the cool photos of Umemiya and Oshida you see below.
You notice the swastika tattoo on Oshida's back? We've mentioned before that the symbol's usage predates its appropriation by Nazi Germany, and has different meanings in Japan. However, in this case we suspect those meanings—good luck, eternity, etc.—have been set aside and the filmmakers meant to use the symbol's association with Nazis to suggest rebellion or lawlessness. If asked, they may have claimed they weren't, but they'd have been messing with people's heads in the same way as the Prussian cross in this post was meant to. But we won't know until we watch the film. We'll keep the rest of our promo material in reserve in case our search is successful. Furyô banchô Ikkaku senkin premiered in Japan today in 1970.
The classes are challenging, but the extracurriculars are really hard.
The high school that looks normal on the surface, but is a nest of sexual perversion underneath. It's a premise Nikkatsu Studios never missed a chance to trundle out for audiences, and here it is again in Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi, which is known in English as Pleasure Campus, Secret Games. Yuri Yamashina is a teacher at Tokyo Public High School who has a group of recalcitrant seniors, including the star of this flick, the lovely Ayako Ôta, along with the equally lovely Rie Katihara (left and right on the poster respectively). The plot evolves from teacher-student conflict, to secret chemical formulas, to public hypnosis, with many weird stops between, as befits a roman porno flick.
We can't really describe the bizarro plot, but the feel of the movie can be summed up by one sequence. A disobedient Ôta is restricted to the school's chemistry lab while a group of administrators in a nearby conference room decide whether to expel her. One of the panel slips away on the pretext of using the bathroom, but instead attacks Ôta in the chemlab. Meanwhile, some minutes later, another member of the panel decides he needs to use the bathroom, but instead heads to the chemlab. The previous admin has leapt out the window to avoid being caught, and admin two sees Ôta half naked and continues the assault. A third admin says he needs to use the bathroom, goes to chemlab where admin two has just fled out the window, finds Ôta naked and tied to a table, and continues the assault... and so forth.
All the wrestling and leaping out of windows plays like a Benny Hill sequence on acid, with more spazzing, yelling, and pratfalling than a sane mind can witness. We recognized that this serial sexual assault is supposed to comedic, but the laughs didn't come for us. Possibly that's due to cultural blindness—not being from Japan, the humor doesn't cross over. So for that reason, we'll let a Japanese commenter on Filmarks review this one for us. Translated, he wrote: “If this happens to me, I hate it so much that I want to die, but since it is a movie, I almost laughed to death. That's what absurdity is.”
There you have it. Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi is an absurdist comedy based around ideas about sexual desire and authority. We take seriously our efforts to understand the roman porno genre, just as we work to understand all yesteryear's enormously popular genres of international film, from Italian giallo mysteries to Mexican lucha libre actioners, but as far as we're concerned it's time for another break from watching these roman porno flicks. Our stand-in from Japan wrote, in so many words: It's just a movie. We get that, so we'll be back to this genre at some point. Some point months from now, after our heads are clear. Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi premiered in Japan today in 1980.
Jane Russell flirts with audiences—and censorship.
The amazing poster above made for the 1943 western The Outlaw, a stinker of a movie that's one of the earlier ones to prove that a film can be terrible yet still be a hit. In fact, it was one of the most financially successful westerns of the 1940s, but really, really bad, as we discussed in our write-up a few years ago. The poster is shocking. Look at Jane's almost exposed boobs. Look at her clearly visible nipple. The movie was first slated to show in Japan in 1946 but censors wouldn't allow it, so it didn't actually didn't premiere there until 1952, but still, 1952 strikes us as pretty early for a design this racy. But the date is confirmed, because it's signed by an artist named Miya, and next to his or her name is “1952.” It's a great piece. We have another, less envelope pushing poster, unsigned and probably by a different artist, below. The Outlaw originally premiered in Japan today in 1952.
Sekkusu and you shall find.
The above poster was made to promote the Japanese roman porno flick Sekkusu hantâ: Sei kariudo, aka Sex Hunter, and we should note, as we do periodically, that roman porno films are not porn, but imaginative softcore excursions made by very twisted minds. Proving once again that it's amazing what you can imply when frontal nudity is illegal, here you get a tale about an aspiring ballerina (played by pouty Ayako Ôta in her cinematic debut) and her teacher (Erina Miyai looking her very best) who descend into a bizarre bondage odyssey notable for the fact that most taboos you can imagine are shattered, starting with rape and kinbaku-bi, and ending with handicapped sex and incest. In between you get bottle penetrations, a snowballing, an orgy on swings, and other sexual variations. There's a plot, but not one we'll bother to outline, because it's just a framework for one hundred and seven minutes of determined attempts to shock. Even the magical Miyai can't save this one. Sekkusu hantâ: Sei kariudo premiered in Japan today in 1980.
She wasn't really all that nice even before the demon showed up.
The tateken style poster you see above was made for the Japanese actioner Yôen dokufu-den: Han'nya no Ohyaku, aka Ohyaku: The Female Demon, set in Edo era Japan, and starring Junko Miyazono, Tomisaburô Wakayama, and Kunio Murai. Miyazono plays woman who as little girl survived when her prostitute mother jumped with her off a bridge, and as an adult carries a scar on her back from this traumatic suicide. She's grown up to be an acrobat, but is treated shabbily by men just as her mother was.
She flees her circus life and hooks up with a handsome young samurai, only to learn that he plans to steal gold being transported via caravan from a government mint. She begs to help her young lover, as he also takes on a partner who tried to rob the same mint twenty years earlier, losing an arm in the process. His knowledge will hopefully be key, but like any heist, there are hidden dangers. It's a given some will come from the protectors of the coveted goods, but sometimes they come from partners in positions of trust. That's all we'll say about the plot, except that Miyazono is never actually possessed by a demon. What happens is she gets a demon tattoo on her back, which we guess symbolizes her transition from somewhat shady to fully vengeful.
The movie was made by Toei Company and was the first in a trilogy of films that are often cited as precursors to the studio's famed pinky violence cycle. We can certainly see the similarity, though this film is black and white rather than the vivid color you get with pinky violence. But all that really matters is that it's entertaining, starting fast, incorporating nice sword action, and covering a lot of thematic ground. Very enjoyable stuff. It premiered in Japan today in 1968.
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
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1955—Rosa Parks Sparks Bus Boycott
In the U.S., in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city's racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott resulted in a crippling financial deficit for the Montgomery public transit system, because the city's African-American population were the bulk of the system's ridership.
1936—Crystal Palace Gutted by Fire
In London, the landmark structure Crystal Palace, a 900,000 square foot glass and steel exhibition hall erected in 1851, is destroyed by fire. The Palace had been moved once and fallen into disrepair, and at the time of the fire was not in use. Two water towers survived the blaze, but these were later demolished, leaving no remnants of the original structure.
1963—Warren Commission Formed
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However the long report that is finally issued does little to settle questions
about the assassination, and today surveys show that only a small minority of Americans agree with the Commission's conclusions.
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