Hitomi hits the coast for a private holiday.
Here during the depths of winter (for those of you that experience winter) we thought we'd give you the hottest images we could find to stir your blood. Above are a few looks at Japanese actress Hitomi Kozue, who, according to a bit of accompanying text we didn't bother to show, is enjoying a rare sunny day during the 1974 tsuya, or East Asian rainy season. Hitomi is the star of such films as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha, True Story of a Woman Condemned, and its sequel, and you may remember we promised we'd return to her after sharing an image last year from this same photo session.
Based on what we've seen Hitomi seems to have been the boldest Japanese cinema star of the ’70s when it came to her promo images. These are nicely conceived and composed, tasteful, yet audacious and visceral. Some cultures, including the U.S., have regressed to the point where almost any nudity is now shocking, but eroticism has always been a valid art form, and it will thrive again once people remember that bodies forced under wraps are exactly what previous generations fought so hard against in order to wrest free expression from external control. Hitomi is uncontrollably beautiful.
No calm in the eye of this storm.
First of all, we're going to send an e-mail to the World Meteorological Organization lobbying for a hurricane to be named Hitomi. It's gotta happen. But about this poster art, we discussed Hitomi Kozue's roman porno actioner Nikutai hanzai kaigan: Piranha no mure, aka Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha a few years ago. Basically, four delinquents who call themselves the Piranhas go on a spree of crime and mayhem around Sagami Bay. The above promo is similar to the regular poster, but because it's monochrome and has some different text elements we thought it worth sharing. Plus we're completist when it comes to Kozue—anything she's in or on, we're all about.
Ahoy there, miss! Do you mind if we pull abreast?
At top, a poster for the Hitomi Kozue roman porno flick Nikutai hanzai kaigan: Piranha no mure, aka Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha. In this one Kozue rises out of the sea like Aphrodite, which is how we always suspected she came to be. Well, okay, she isn't actually a deity, but she's certainly one of the more beautiful actresses of her era. We'd have loved to see her in some western crossovers, but it never happened, though in our opnion she had the screen charisma to entice global audiences.
In this film she isn't showcased at her best. She plays an insipid and annoying bad girl who's part of a small gang of criminals in the seaside region of Shōnan, along Sagami Bay. The gang callis itself the Piranhas, and Hitomi's the main squeeze of the gang's leader Rikiya Dan. They happily commit mayhem together, but when Dan encounters Masumi Jun it looks as if Hitomi's position as HBIC is under threat. Romance is never easy in these films, and in this case jealousy brings distrust and violence into the Piranha clan.
We could tell you more, but why bother? This is Nikkatsu Studios, and it's roman porno, so you know exactly what you'll get here. There's joyful violence, a very blurry line where sexual consent resides, and straight-up rape too. We still don't truly understand these films and we probably never will, but millions of Japanese cinemagoers loved them, so we'll defer to their taste for the time being. But we're starting to form some definite opinions. Nikutai hanzai kaigan: Piranha no mure premiered in Japan today in 1973.
Hitomi Kozue only acted in films for five years, but used her talent and beauty to make a major impact.
Above is a vintage Japanese poster for the 1976 roman porno flick Boko!, or Assault!, with Hitomi Kozue, a major star during her time about whom there’s a serious dearth of information on the web today. Kozue began her career modeling in Tokyo in the early seventies, and was soon making appearances on late night television. In 1972 Nikkatsu Studios cast her in Showa onnamichi: Rashomon, or Naked Rashomon.
The film was a hit and for the next five years Kozue was one of the company’s most bankable stars, fusing sex and violence in pinku and roman porno productions like Onna kyöshi: shiseikatsu (Female Teacher: Private Life), Nikutai hanzai kaigan: piranha no mure (Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha), and Bankaku joshikökösei no sex to böryoku no jittai (True Story of Sex and Violence in a Female High School).
As we’ve pointed out before, roman porno flicks weren’t actual porn—the term was short for “romantic porno”, and the productions were artfully shot, non-explicit erotica. The genre’s modesty had to do with a nationwide prohibition on showing pubic hair rather than an aesthetic choice by Nikkatsu, but the results were often visually ingenious.
Kozue expanded her repertoire into music, releasing a single in 1976, and—like her contemporaries Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto, Yayoi Watanabe and others—constantly stoked her fans’ libidos with tasteful nude photos and posters. You see two of those images below.
In all, Kozue made about twenty-five films, leaving the business in 1977 at the height of her fame to become a wife and mother. But even though her time in film was all too brief, she left behind a sizable body of work, one we’ll be exploring, along with those of other pinku stars, as this year moves forward.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1947—Edwin Land Unveils His New Camera
In New York City, scientist and inventor Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The camera, which contains a special film that self-develops prints in a minute, goes on sale the next year to the public and is an immediate sensation.
1965—Malcolm X Is Assassinated
American minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam, who shotgun him in the chest and then shoot him sixteen additional times with handguns. Though three men are eventually convicted of the killing, two have always maintained their innocence, and all have since been paroled.
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
1976—Gerald Ford Rescinds Executive Order 9066
U.S. President Gerald R. Ford signs Proclamation 4417, which belatedly rescinds Executive Order 9066. That Order, signed in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established "War Relocation Camps" for Japanese-American citizens living in the U.S. Eventually, 120,000 are locked up without evidence, due process, or the possibility of appeal, for the duration of World War II.
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