Femmes Fatales Feb 11 2023
SUN GODDESS
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 PiranhaTrue 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.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 12 2022
OIL AND WATER
They mix just fine as far as she's concerned.


As summer and the endless possibilities of that time of year approach, a person's thoughts turn naturally to— Oh, screw it. Let's not intellectualize it. It's basically always summer where we live, so who are we bullshitting anyway? We just like nude images. Here's an excellent example featuring one of our favorite actresses, Hitomi Kozue, star of Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, New True Story of a Woman Condemned to Hell, Confessions of a Female Secretary: Juice from the Fruit, and other worthy efforts, and who, like Pam Grier, Christina Lindberg, Reiko Ike, and other centerpieces of obscure ’70s b-movies, we're determined to document in her entirety. This image came from a 1974 issue of Heibon Punch and it's part of a series, the amazing remainder of which we'll show you later. Teaser: they're even slipperier. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2022
THE NAME OF THE LAW
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.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 27 2021
SEVEN THE HARD WAY
Tanaka and company roll the dice and all kinds of craps happen.


This poster was made to promote the samurai actioner Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi, known in English internationally as The Naked Seven, starring the wonderful Mari Tanaka, along with Michiyo Mako, Yuri Yamashina, and others. Tanaka plays Eno, leader of a gang of seven female bandits roaming the countryside of Edo era Japan ambushing and stealing to survive. Tanaka hooks up with a samurai and helps him rob 120 rifles from a powerful warlord, at which point she and her bandit cohort are blamed. Realizing they're in the very deepest shit, they head for the hills with the warlord's bad men—one of whom is indescribably worse than the rest—in hot pursuit. Tanaka has a sanctuary in mind, but ultimately she and her gang of deadlies may have to make a final stand with those rifles.

We assumed The Naked Seven was a samurai actioner, and it is, sort of, but genetically it's really a roman porno. The movie's alternate English title (which we didn't know until afterward) gives it away: Civil War Rock: Hurricane Girls! The Japanese word “sengoku,” from the film's official title, refers to the Sengoku Era in Japan, a time of violent upheaval also known as the Warring States Period, so the civil war reference in the alternate English title makes sense. Plus director Yasuharu Hasebe would make a string of roman porno flicks in the next several years, including Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary and Maruhi honeymoon: Boko ressha, which, terrifyingly, is aka Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train. Even without knowing all that, the roman porno thought process behind The Naked Seven became clear as the pursuit unfolded in occasionally shocking fashion.

We thought we'd jettisoned roman pornos after the last effort we watched, but that Naked Seven title fooled us. It's obviously a play on The Magnificent Seven—but naked!—and yup, unclothed debauchery fit for a Game of Thrones episode abounds. There's also a sequence in which Tanaka's entire gang is waylaid bathing in a stream and have to flee bare-assed into the woods. They escape, though it's logistically unlikely. Similarly, roman porno chased us and caught us unawares, metaphorically naked in a streaming. Escape from our waylaying was as logistically easy as pressing stop, but we forged ahead until the end, and we did it for you. Here's the upshot. The period setting helps set the movie apart, so we consider it a passable effort from Nikkatsu Studios. Thankfully, it's not as shocking as some roman pornos, but proceed carefully—there are still scary things in the woods. Sengoku rokku hayate no onnatachi premiered in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2014
QUITE CONTRARY
Hitomi Kozue as a streetwise cop named Dirty Mary? Worked for us. But it didn’t for the Japanese public.

So, we’ve returned from our brief vacation, and we’re gearing back up with three Japanese posters we meant to share during the week we were away. Sukeban Deka: daati Marii, aka Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, is a Dirty Harry style thriller from Nikkatsu Studios starring Hitomi Kozue. Kozue had already appeared in a number of erotic movies, so Nikkatsu made a right turn with her career, scaling back sex and nudity in favor of gritty action.

At least, that was the idea. But there actually isn’t much action. The plot involves Kozue investigating murder, which in turn leads to her uncovering blackmail and illicit photos, and in the process there’s a couple of minutes of gunplay, a fistfight she loses (after which she's stripped, molested, and photographed), and a dynamite explosion. The lack of compelling action probably explains, at least partially, why the movie was a commercial failure.

Despite its shortcomings you have to give Kozue this: she looks convincingly badass. And it’s worth noting that the film has become more popular over the years as viewers have reassessed its merits. However, it’s not so highly regarded yet that it’s easy to find. You might find it online if you search very hard. But if you can't locate it, as consolation we’ve uploaded a nice Hitomi Kozue promo shot below. Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary premiered in Japan today in 1974.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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