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. Instead she plays an all-too-mortal gangster girl who falls for a gangster boy in the seaside region of Shōnan, along Sagami Bay. But romance is never easy in these films, and a love triangle soon brings jealousy and violence to the idyllic sands of central Japan. It's Nikkatsu Studios, and it's roman porno, so you know exactly what you'll get here. It 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, courtesy of the blog Woman Becomes the Picture (and of course we’ve posted our own never-seen-before images of pinku stars over the last two years, as well). 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.
May 06
1937—The Hindenburg Explodes
In the U.S, at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the German zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire and is incinerated within a minute while attempting to dock in windy conditions after a trans-Atlantic crossing. The disaster, which kills thirty-six people, becomes the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and most famously, Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field. But for all the witnesses and speculation, the actual cause of the fire remains unknown.
May 05
1921—Chanel No. 5 Debuts
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, the pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired styles, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion, introduces the perfume Chanel No. 5, which to this day remains one of the world's most legendary and best selling fragrances.
1961—First American Reaches Space
Three weeks after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly into space, U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard completes a sub-orbit of fifteen minutes, returns to Earth, and is rescued from his Mercury 3 capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. Shepard made several more trips into space, even commanding a mission at age 47, and was eventually awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
May 04
1953—Hemingway Wins Pulitzer
American author Ernest Hemingway, who had already written such literary classics as The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novella The Old Man and the Sea, the story of an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.
1970—Mass Shooting at Kent State
In the U.S., Ohio National Guard troops, who had been sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, open fire on a group of unarmed students, killing four and wounding nine. Some of the students had been protesting the United States' invasion of Cambodia, but others had been walking nearby or observing from a distance. The incident triggered a mass protest of four million college students nationwide, and eight of the guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury, but charges against all of them were eventually dismissed.
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