Modern Pulp Jan 23 2023
SCENES FROM AN OFFICE
The lady is a tramp, and the director is a scamp.

Junko Mabuki is back on Pulp Intl., as you see on this poster for the roman porno movie Dan Oniroku OL nawa dorei, known in English as Office Lady Rope Slave. It premiered in Japan today in 1981, and basically, Junko plays a straight-laced nine-to-fiver who gets involved with a pair of bondage fetishists. These types of films were, of course, her specialty, and she once again gives viewers everything they'd become accustomed to seeing. But we're less interested in the plot of the movie than the reaction at Japan's censorship board Eiga Rinri Kikō. Adherence to its restrictions was ostensibly voluntary on the part of film studios, but the body had real enforcement power. Dan Oniroku OL nawa dorei must have shaken the place to its foundations.

Let's set the scene. One of the censors has shown up at the Eiga Rinri Kikō office for an emergency meeting with the board chief. He and the other members of the body are proud of themselves for their work, which basically just hews to Japanese obscenity standards by forbidding shots of sex organs and pubic hair. But they never really thought it out from the perspective of directors determined to skirt the edges, which suddenly is happening with increasing frequency. Now at least one censor is in a tizzy. He'd be even more agitated if he knew digital technology would make roman porno films globally available, and thus decades later raise uncomfortable questions about Japanese culture and misogyny, but at this point he has no clue about that.

Censor: I'm beginning to think our censorship regime has backfired. I just screened Dan Oniroku OL nawa dorei and that fucker Katushiko shows dripping semen.

Chief: We didn't ban that?

Censor: No. We overlooked it.

Chief: Well, what's a little semen?

Censor: It's dripping from Mabuki Junko's mouth. He also shows vaginal juices, vaginal blood, and strongly implies that Mabuki-kun gets her clitoris clothes-pinned.

Chief: Hmm... that does sound provocative.

Censor: I watched it twice just to be sure of my eyes. It's depraved. Additionally, there's all the usual bondage, some bizarre insertions, an enema, oral sex both heterosexual and lesbian...

Chief: All this without violating a single one of our rules?

Censor: Nothing is actually shown. It seems quite revealing, though, because, well, Mabuki-kun is a very good actress. Great boobs too.

Chief: Agreed. Mabuki-kun has excellent boobs.

Censor: But in general, it feels like these roman porno directors are ridiculing our censorship standards. There's even a moment—I swear—when I felt like the actors looked directly at me and sneered.

Chief: Now you're being paranoid. Regarding the standards, we could change them, make them more restrictive, but it's hell keeping Nikkatsu and the other studios in line already. Any alteration now may cause serious problems.

Censor: *sigh* But the semen...

Chief: What's a little semen? So, that screener is VHS?

Censor: Betamax. It's a better format. Soon everything will be Betamax. I have it with me.

Chief: I better check it out—just to confirm your findings. Leave it by the Beta player over there, and close the door on your way out. Also, tell my secretary I'm not to be disturbed for ninety minutes.

Okay, a scornful look for the censorship board on one... two... and now!

At first I thought this was a citrus reamer, but now I'm not sure.

How the hell do you expect me to flush this way?

I'll help him. I've been hiding in the shower the whole time.

I have to take a short break. There's an office pool on my chair.

We'll all have what she's having!

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Vintage Pulp Dec 28 2022
WET CONDITIONS
Slippery pavement ahead. High accident risk. Proceed in low gear.


Above is a poster for Sex rider: Nureta highway, or alternatively Sex Rider: Wet Highway, starring Mari Tanaka as a woman about to be married who succumbs to a case of cold feet and flees her impending nuptials. Her escape gets off to a bad start when she hits a guy with her car. He's not seriously hurt, but seeing a chance to possibly profit, pretends to be gravely injured. Tanaka, no doctor she, mistakes his fake unconsciousness for death and decides to dispose of the body. Reality gets a little bent from that point, as the film descends into a dreamlike state and we poor confused viewers aren't actually sure if the guy is dead. In any case, Tanaka dumps the body in a lake, but is seen doing it by a nearby hunter, and is sexually assaulted by this witness. At that point the dead/not dead man reappears to defend her, claiming, “I'm the ghost of the guy you hit.” Okay.

That's all we'll do on the plot. We want to note that Nikkatsu Studios, undeniably, had an obsession with rape. Their movies are very against the grain nowadays (and were back then too, we suspect, or at least hope), but we think there's value in looking at them objectively. Modern art is always a momentary endpoint and has to be understood with its evolution in mind. That's why we don't judge these sometimes disturbing films too harshly. The 1970s were a time of cinematic exploration and it was coupled with a new sexual freedom wherein merely to shock with nudity was usually considered a nudge toward more liberation. As we understand it, many feminists back then were pro-nudity. It was a flip-off to a patriarchy that had stifled women for centuries.

But when VHS and the porn explosion came along the winds shifted. Billions were made selling women's bodies and women made virtually nothing. Digital tech, which arrived to stick nudity and sex in the faces of people who hadn't even asked to see it, was the final straw. Today, many people see any female nudity as exploitative, and rail against any depiction of violence against women as implicit endorsement of the same. It's understandable. We all have our own red lines. Everybody's upsettable. Even the people who claim to be hard-as-nails free expression absolutists. Don't believe it? Tell one of them you think belief in a god is childish, or you're tired of veneration of the armed forces, and see how that goes. Everyone is upsettable.

Japan was a more patriarchal society than many leading up to the roman porno period, so the push toward sexualization was quite strong there. Though cinematic censorship against frontal nudity and sex acts was firm, such prohibitions merely made Japanese filmmakers creative. It's incredible how shocking a roman porno movie can be without showing a wisp of pubic hair. The rape obsession is just one example. There was also a focus on bodily functions, submission, and more. Despite those shocks, we feel like roman porno films differ only in number—rather than content—from what was being produced in the West during the same period. In the U.S., France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, et al, the 1970 to 1980 timeframe was likewise characterized by an exploration of themes that today are considered taboo.

We love foreign films, and upon exploring Japanese cinema, we progressed from post-war dramas, to samurai and martial arts epics, to counterculture pinky violence films, and thence to roman porno. Ultimately, poster art is one of the linchpins of our site, and roman porno films have great posters, which is the main reason we talk about them so much. We could just share the posters and stop there, but that usually feels inadequate for people who take film as seriously as we (and hopefully you) do. So we watch the movies, but sometimes wonder if we've learned all we can from the genre and maybe should call it quits and move on. But for now we'll keep exploring films such as Sex rider: Nureta highway. In the end, we have to give it credit—at least it tried to be different. But it also should have tried to be better. It premiered in Japan today in 1971.
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Femmes Fatales Dec 21 2022
CAN'T BE TOPPED
For that matter she can barely be bottomed.


Japanese actress Izumi Shima strikes a nice seaside pose in a 1978 issue of the men's magazine Weekly Playboy. In text we've cropped out, the image mentions two of her upcoming movies—Kyoshi mejika, aka Teacher Deer, and Danchizuma: Futari dake no yoru, aka Apartment Wife: Night by Ourselves, and gives a mailing address for fans to write “love letters” to her at Nikkatsu Studios in Tokyo. The mail must have arrived by the cartload. We have more Shima shots from this session that we'll share later. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 18 2022
SCHLOCK THERAPY
Had a horrible trauma? Leading roman porno filmmakers say another one should fix you right up.


This flowery promo poster was made for the roman porno flick Kashin no sasoi, aka Call of the Pistil, or sometimes Temptation of the Pistil, which premiered in Japan today in 1971. The movie opens with a cool credit sequence, which you can see in the screenshots below. After that's done, you get a story about a reporter played by Keiko Maki who's traumatized by a sexual assault and whose doctor decides—this is so typical of roman porno cinema—that only by reenacting the event can she be cured.

Her older brother and boyfriend take charge of setting up these scenarios, and the experimental treatments backfire. Big shock. Later they learn that there's more to Maki's mental state than suspected, and that it has to do with her previous investigations and a conspiracy dealing with the U.S. military, and specifically with black GIs. Therefore—again, so typical—brother and boyfriend find a black GI (Peter Golden in a thankless role, his sole film appearance ever) to attack Maki.
 
Of course, as a roman porno—i.e "romantic" porno—there's no sex or frontal nudity shown during any of this, but it's still disturbing. All this supposed therapy is basically the equivalent of screaming, “BOO!” at someone who's previously suffered a terrible fright. If we make the movie sound a bit dumb, well, it really is. But it's certainly well shot, as all these roman pornos are, but even good production values and decent performances can't put this tale across. It's just too mean-spirited to work. “It was all a bad dream,” Maki's boyfriend says to her in the end. If only life really worked that way.
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Intl. Notebook Dec 1 2022
BOOGIE NIGHTS
Hell yeah! My dance moves are tight, and this outfit will definitely make me the center of attention.


We've come to the last page in Reiko Ike's 1972 Weekly Playboy calendar—this fun shot for December where she seems to be having a party of one at home. But we imagine her heading to the hottest club in town. Having been to several of the better discos in the western hemisphere, we think this outfit will get her past even the most jaded doormen. Of course, nobody can really trust our opinon. We've also been arbitrarily refused entry to some of the better discos in the western hemisphere—Pacha! Pacha! Excuse us. Little touch of cold coming on.
 
Anyway, it's been a pretty nice year of Reiko images, and we're happy to have uploaded them for all of you to enjoy. She's outpaced her competitors to become the most featured vintage actress on Pulp Intl., ahead of Marilyn Monroe (if we don't count tabloid appearances), Pam Grier, Christina Lindberg, and a few others. We'll have even more shots of Japan's greatest cinematic girl gangster at some point, so look for those down the line.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 17 2022
BLADE PART 2
Black don't crack a smile.

Above is a second excellent tateken poster for Shin joshuu sasori: 701-gô, known in English as New Female Prisoner Scorpion: 701, with Yumi Takigawa dressed in black from head to toe and looking ready to deal out death. These tateken style promos are rare, so we're happy to have found two. As usual, we like to share posters on a film's premiere date, and that was today in 1976. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 3 2022
NAUGHTY AND NISE
They don't make virgins like they used to.


When Nikkatsu Studios attempted comedy, it may have been uproarious for audiences of the 1970s, but to us it's usually about on the same level as a Pauly Shore movie. But Joshidaisei: Nise shojo, known in English as College Girls: Fake Virgins, is, we have to admit, actually a bit amusing in parts. Or maybe it was just our mood at the time. We aren't going to watch it again to test the theory. When it comes to Nikkatsu, because its films are capable of being so shocking, when you get something pleasant you take your profits and don't look back.

Basically, what you get here is Kenji Simamura as a habitual molester who runs a real estate company. He meets Masumi Jun, Reiko Maki, and Natsuko Kurumi when he feels up Maki on a train, and is stunned when she snaps a pair of cuffs on his roaming hands. She isn't a cop. She just has them around because gropers are apparently a problem on Japanese trains of that time. From this auspicious encounter Sinamuraends up hiring the girls to pose as virgins for three unsuspecting squares who own vast tracts of land he covets. Virginity is—at least as posited by the movie—what all men want. The three land-rich marks are, of course, unattractive klutzes, and not very bright besides, but for all that, it's obvious Simamura's grand scheme won't come off as planned.

The humor in this film is on a pretty basic level, but as we said, there are a few good moments. How can you not be amused when, after that groping on the train, the girls make Simamura buy them lunch—while still handcuffed to Maki? But most of the comedy is lame. Luckily, the movie has its beautiful leads to compensate. Since Jun and Maki star on the poster, we're having them star in the promo images below. Joshidaisei: Nise shojo premiered in Japan today in 1973.
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Intl. Notebook Nov 1 2022
NEVER TOO LATE
Age is just a number—a pointlessly restrictive one.


We've been sharing Reiko Ike images via her 1972 Weekly Playboy calendar, posting one shot each month, but a few times the magazine used a photo for two months at once, which leaves us to find imagery to fill in the gaps. October was one of those months, so above are a couple of replacement images for November. They're also from Weekly Playboy, just not from her calendar. The text says Reiko-kun was due to turn twenty in May 1972, and she announces, with the wisdom of her advanced years, “It's too late for me to be nude.” And of course she reversed course on that crazy notion pretty quick, as her many subsequent unclothed photos prove. Here's the thing: It's never too late to be nude. Not for her, not for us, not for anybody.

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Intl. Notebook Oct 1 2022
FALL GIRL
Summer's over but the heat lingers.


The Reiko Ike Weekly Playboy calendar is in its last quarter—in its autumn you might even say. Above you see the magazine's entry for October and November 1972, featuring Reiko in a groovy fringed vest—yet another look from that era we think needs to return. And under the vest she's wearing, well, herself. Always her best look. Obviously, since this shot encompasses November we'll need to dig up an image from elsewhere for the first of next month, but luckily, we have plenty. Stay tuned.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 6 2022
STARE CASE
Maybe she'll think you didn't look if you tell her she's out of sight.


One can't help but stare at least a little at this promo shot of Hitomi Kozue where the text says in English and Japanese not to do it. It came from a 1975 issue of Weekly Playboy in which the popular actress talks about her interests and hobbies. Among them: drinking. Literally, it says that. We like Kozue better the more we learn about her. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
January 29
1916—Paris Is Bombed by German Zeppelins
During World War I, German zeppelins conduct a bombing raid on Paris. Such raids were rare, because the ships had to fly hundreds of miles over French territory to reach their target, making them vulnerable to attack. Reaching London, conversely, was much easier, because the approach was over German territory and water. The results of these raids were generally not good, but the use of zeppelins as bombers would continue until the end of the war.
January 28
1964—Soviets Shoot Down U.S. Plane
A U.S. Air Force training jet is shot down by Soviet fighters after straying into East German airspace. All 3 crew men are killed. U.S forces then clandestinely enter East Germany in an attempt to reach the crash but are thwarted by Soviet forces. In the end, the U.S. approaches the Soviets through diplomatic channels and on January 31 the wreckage of the aircraft is loaded onto trucks with the assistance of Soviet troops, and returned to West Germany.
January 27
1967—Apollo Fire Kills Three Astronauts
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although the ignition source of the fire is never conclusively identified, the astronauts' deaths are attributed to a wide range of design hazards in the early Apollo command module, including the use of a high-pressure 100 percent-oxygen atmosphere for the test, wiring and plumbing flaws, flammable materials in the cockpit, an inward-opening hatch, and the flight suits worn by the astronauts.
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