It's rough going for anyone who gets on Meiko's bad side.
Above we have another promo poster for Meiko Kaji's pinky violence actioner Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ’71, aka Stray Cat Rock: Crazy Rider ’71, aka Stray Cat Rock: Beat ’71, which premiered in Japan today in—you guessed it—’71. This great poster is just as rare as the others we shared. See those here and here.
Hurray! It's a whole new decade!
It's been a long time since we featured Japanese actress Yayoi Watanabe. While she wasn't the most important pinku star of her era, she appeared in an absolute mass of cool promo photos, one of which appears above. This one captures our sense of optimism for the upcoming decade. We expect huge leaps of progress, wider horizons, amazing new discoveries, and limitless fun. We mean on our website. What—did you think we meant the world? No, that's totally screwed. Let's not think about that at all.
You know, maybe I should stop storing my bras in the very top of the closet.
Above, another brilliant image of Japanese roman porno actress Hitomi Kozue, who always makes a genius out of any photographer she works with. See other spectacular visuals from her here, here, and here.
New main ingredient, same old Female Prisoner Scorpion.
We've already shared two posters for Yumi Takigawa's women-in-prison pinky violence flick Shin joshuu sasori: 701-gô, aka New Female Prisoner Scorpion: 701, which premiered today in 1976. Above is the slightly different tateken sized poster, added here for the sake of completeness. The film is a reboot of the original Female Prisoner Scorpion series starring Meiko Kaji, and most consider it to be of lesser quality than the first four films, but quality is a relative term in pinku. Some would say all the films are bad. Not us. But some would say that. Bonus material: a Yumi promo image below. And you can see the other posters here and here.
When the going gets tough the smart leave town.
You see what we mean about roman porno posters? How can we not share something this pretty? And if we share the poster we have to watch the movie, at least to have an idea what the art is about. And the movies? Well, they've been a years-long exploration into some deep dark places. Other people's, not ours. This poster was made to promote Pinku saron: Kôshoku gonin onna, aka Pink Salon: Five Lewd Women, which premiered in Japan today in 1978. You've noticed by now that many of these films were based on novels. It wasn't just cinema that was delving into challenging themes during the ’70s. But this, surprisingly, is based on a work of anthological fiction written by Saikaku Ihara in 1686, during Japan's Edo period.
Broadly speaking the plot deals with the struggles of five women—Kyôko Aoyama, Erina Miyai, Eiko Matsuda, Machiko Ohtani, and Miyako Yamaguchi—who work in Tokyo's strip clubs, or pink salons. Obviously, the stories in Ihara's source material have been moved forward three centuries to the grey, concrete Tokyo you see in so many Japanese films from the ’70s. These pink salon workers aren't satisfied with their lives, and what develops is a sort of counterculture road trip film, as they and a few male companions drive from Tokyo to Otoko in a graffiti covered microbus. Do they find a better place in the world? You'll have to watch the movie yourself. But you can be certain that, as in most cinema about misfit dreamers and restless outcasts, the odds are against them and the errors of the past are not far behind.
Pink Saron has sex but no fetish, and violence but little gore, so we wonder if the age of the source material has anything to do with that. Nikkatsu Studios usually pushed its roman porno movies beyond the far edge of good taste, but not this time, and it was rewarded for its restraint. Pink Saron won Noboru Tanaka a Japan Academy Film Prize for best director—the first time a roman porno film had been thus honored. Yes, this movie is something a little different. We'd like to say it's appropriate for those seeking an entry point into the genre, but it's so different from most it would only mislead you. And next thing you know you'll find yourself watching women chained up in dungeons. So consider this a stand alone film. A pretty good one.
If you're looking for a tale with a happy ending look somewhere else.
We're doing a pinku double-dip today because life is short and the shit we want to post keeps piling up. Even at an increased rate it'll take another ten years to get this stuff uploaded. Will websites as we understand them even exist then? Will blogs exist? We've already read that blogging is dead. Multiple times. Well, we keep chugging along, and today's journey involves two more promos, these for Nikkatsu Studios' infamous roman porno drama Dabide no hoshi: Bishôjo-gari, aka Beautiful Girl Hunter, which is based on a Maasaki Soto manga and premiered in Japan today in 1979. That's Hiromi Namino on the art, who as far as we know made only one other film.
So we watched this, and yup, it's twisted. Long story short, an escaped lunatic commits a rape which results in a pregnancy, and the rape child grows up to become a rapist. Every taboo is shattered in this one, including ones you've never imagined. As we always note for readers unfamiliar with this genre, there's no actual sex, no frontal nudity. Everything is done with camera angles, the power of suggestion, and acting. Still... holy fuck. But what you really want to know is whether the movie is any good. Objectively it's well made, but it also made us question whether liking roman porno posters and being interested in the genre's history and culture are sufficient enough reasons to keep watching the films.
Yet there are also serious points in this movie about intergenerational violence, and whether it's at all possible for parents to love (or even treat decently) a child conceived via rape. To us, neither question feels responsibly examined enough to justify the existence of the movie. After all, it's first and foremost a piece of sexploitation, and the steady supply of nudity sort of undercuts any serious intent. We much prefer Toei Company's pinky violence films. The women in those either win or cause a hell of a lot of trouble trying. By contrast films like Beautiful Girl Hunter feel deliberately regressive, as we've noted before. These Nikkatsu guys will be the end of us yet.
What you see is exactly what you get.
Above are two striking pinku posters, both from the roman porno sub-genre. The first is for Osasuri hentai musume, aka Harassing Perverted Girl, with Rina Nagisa. The English title of this is interesting. You can't be sure if it refers to a perverted girl being harassed, or a perverted girl who harasses. It's the former—the Japanese title, which would translate to something like “caught hentai girl,” makes that a bit clearer. The second poster is for Onna kyôshi: Himitsu, aka Female Teacher 6, with Miyako Yamaguchi and Etsuko Hara. As the title suggests, it was part of a series, a run of thirteen Onna kyôshi movies, made between 1973 and 1983. How in the hell did Nikkatsu Studios manage to milk the concept for so many films? Because audiences didn't care a whit about the plots as long as there was what's known in Japan as fan sābisu, or “fan service”—i.e., giving consumers (usually males) what they want. It's technically a manga term, but we think it applies here, as both posters promise it, and in a laudable example of truth in advertising, the films deliver. Osasuri hentai musume and Onna kyôshi: Himitsu both premiered—in what was a banner weekend for roman porno fans—today in 1978.
The more you Zoom the weirder everything looks.
Above is a poster for Zûmu appu: Bôkô hakusho, aka Zoom Up: Sexual Crime Report, the fourth film in the Zoom Up series. This installment starred Yuki Kazamatsuri and Rie Hirase, and premiered in Japan today in 1981. Where do we start with this? Kazamatsuri plays a disc jockey married to a powerful businessman. One night on her way to the radio station she's raped by a gang of creeps on motorcycles, and it turns out this was not a random attack. That's already a spoiler, so we'll stop there.
As always, we try to remember that Nikkatsu Studios was in the business of making money. The directors and screenwriters had a lot of artistic freedom, and occasionally tried to embed social commentary and deep metaphor in these films. But you know how it goes with metaphor—if you suspect it's there you'll look for it until you strain your brain. Broadly speaking, roman porno avoids the feminist patriarchy smashing of pinky violence films, usually denying women any sort of cathartic retribution. We stress usually. Even in this retrograde genre women sometimes get the opportunity to make men eat cold steel, or hot lead, as the case may be. Which path does Zûmu appu: Bôkô hakusho take? We ain't saying.
If you look around the internet the very few reviews of roman porno films you find are by males, usually in Japanese. We sometimes add to the all-male chorus, but just as often we keep our write-ups vague, focusing mainly on the poster art. We hope one day there'll be a more diverse online analysis of these, particularly of two types: in English from Japanese viewers who can provide social context we can't; and from women. The latter you might expect us to get from PI-1 and PI-2 (did we mention they're out of town?), but they refuse to watch these. Maybe, truly, that's the most incisive analysis of all.
Wait, so this is all a cinematic metaphor?
Ahh, a wonderful, relaxing metaphor for womblike security.
Oh no! A terrible, disturbing metaphor for survival in a hostile world!
Lalalala... slurp.... gurgle... metaphor.... lalalalalala...
Shhh... trust me. This is a metaphor you're really going to enjoy.
Maybe these metaphors will be clearer without my glasses.
No wonder divorce rates are sky high.
Did we mention that the Pulp Intl. girlfriends are out of town? No? Well, they are, so it's time to screen the craziest shit vintage cinema has to offer—’70s roman porno. We don't truly understand the films, but we try. What we do understand is that on some level the previous decades' restraint in Japanese cinema was being challenged by filmmakers given almost total artistic control, as long as the films had four sex scenes per hour. So what you get is a lot of daring explorations of previously untouchable themes, and a lot of visual artistry designed to titillate without violating censorship restrictions. Japan's oldest studio, Nikkatsu, made these films, and many were hits with both audiences and critics (who we suspect in both cases were preponderantly male).
The above poster was made to promote Dan Oniroku hanayome ningyo, aka Bridal Doll, which is based on the writings of acclaimed author Oniroku Dan, and stars Asako Kurayoshi in her cinematic debut as a woman who's sold to a man as a bdsm sex slave. It's pretty twisted. Not only does he dress her as a bride, but he has a glass walled bathroom so he can watch her do her business, and at one point literally has her shackled to a ball and chain. But his idyllic set-up goes awry when a neighbor learns what's going on and decides to save Asako. He does this by kidnapping the sadist's wife, who's played by the luminous Izumi Shima, putting her through similar ordeals, then proposing a swap.
Does this swap go as planned? Well, we won't tell you that. We will, however, remind you that there are three true outcomes in roman porno: irony, tragedy, and ambiguity. Nobody ever gets out happy. At least not often. They're always transformed by their ordeals, one way or another. As always, not being Japanese and lacking the lifetime of cultural knowledge that would bring, we know there's more going on here than we can discern. But we still can't recommend this one as anything other than Shima eye candy. And you get that by looking below. So maybe save the seventy-one minutes for a walk in the sunshine. Dan Oniroku hanayome ningyo premiered in Japan today in 1979.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
1924—St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad
St. Peterburg, the Russian city founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and which was capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years, is renamed Leningrad three days after the death of Vladimir Lenin. The city had already been renamed Petrograd in 1914. It was finally given back its original name St. Petersburg in 1991.
1966—Beaumont Children Disappear
In Australia, siblings Jane Nartare Beaumont, Arnna Kathleen Beaumont, and Grant Ellis Beaumont, aged 9, 7, and 4, disappear from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, and are never seen again. Witnesses claim to have spotted them in the company of a tall, blonde man, but over the years, after interviewing many potential suspects, police are unable generate enough solid leads to result in an arrest. The disappearances remain Australia's most infamous cold case.
1949—First Emmy Awards Are Presented
At the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, California, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents the first Emmy Awards. The name Emmy was chosen as a feminization of "immy", a nickname used for the image orthicon tubes that were common in early television cameras.
1971—Manson Family Found Guilty
Charles Manson and three female members of his "family" are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, which Manson orchestrated in hopes of bringing about Helter Skelter, an apocalyptic war he believed would arise between blacks and whites.
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