Vintage Pulp Aug 15 2021
HURRICANE HITOMI
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.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 15 2018
THE SHAPE OF WATER
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.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 20 2013
MIDAS CARESS
Her touch turned a fish into a pile of money.

Above is a poster for a Japanese film called Caress with Poison. It starred Hisako Tsukuba, who made nearly fifty films beginning in 1957 and recorded some music before becoming Chako van Leeuwen and shifting into movie production in the U.S. She’s put together eight movies as a producer, but her prized property is the Piranha franchise. You know the ones—Piranha, Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, Piranha 3D, Piranha 3DD. Our kind of producer, especially since she apprenticed under none other than Roger Corman. Her first Piranha movie was made in 1978 for $800,000 and grossed $30 million worldwide. Hah hah—who’s smirking now? Piranha launched the careers of Joe Dante and John Sayles, and the sequel was James Cameron’s first turn behind the camera. Clearly, van Leeuwen knows how to make low budget films. True, she’s no Jeffrey Bloom, but she possesses a similar genius. Caress with Poison premiered in Japan this month in 1963. 
 
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Vintage Pulp Jan 7 2011
ONE HITOMI WONDER
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.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 30
1955—James Dean Dies in Auto Accident
American actor James Dean, who appeared in the films Giant, East of Eden, and the iconic Rebel without a Cause, dies in an auto accident at age 24 when his Porsche 550 Spyder is hit head-on by a larger Ford coupe. The driver of the Ford had been trying to make a left turn across the rural highway U.S. Route 466 and never saw Dean's small sports car approaching.
1962—Chavez Founds UFW
Mexican-American farm worker César Chávez founds the United Farm Workers in California. His strikes, marches and boycotts eventually result in improved working conditions for manual farm laborers and today his birthday is celebrated as a holiday in eight U.S. states.
September 29
1916—Rockefeller Breaks the Billion Barrier
American industrialist John D. Rockefeller becomes America's first billionaire. His Standard Oil Company had gained near total control of the U.S. petroleum market until being broken up by anti-trust legislators in 1911. Afterward, Rockefeller used his fortune mainly for philanthropy, and had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research.
September 28
1941—Williams Bats .406
Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finishes the Major League Baseball season with a batting average of .406. He is the last player to bat .400 or better in a season.
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