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.
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.
Of course we'll join you. Thanks for asking. Is there another bike or does one of us sit on the handlebars?
We continue adding to our set of rare Reiko Ike promo images with this September page from her 1972 Weekly Playboy calendar. For some reason we couldn't get a smooth scan of this, a sometime problem we think is related to vagaries of the electricity in our place. We may try this one again a bit later, but Reiko looks good smooth, grainy, blurry, and all other ways. More from her soon.
Reiko strikes down upon her enemies with great vengeance and Furyo anger.
More Reiko as soon as that? Why yes. Above you see her on a promo poster for her pinky violence flick Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu, known in English as Terrifying Girls' High School: Delinquent Convulsion Group. We shared this art as part of a collection ten years ago but didn't discuss the film. Reiko and Yûko Kanô star, and as the title suggests, it's about the rough and tumble lives of female juvenile delinquents. Reiko's high school is run by the Red Rose Clan. Things go very right when she's elected head of the gang, then very wrong when her father dies in a brutal auto accident, she's transferred to the outcast class for non-payment of tuition, the Red Rose tosses her overboard, and she finds out her mother is indulging in sexual extracurriculars. Talk about a run of bad luck. But you can't keep Reiko down. She fights her way into the good graces of a group of girls that hang out in a local bar. They decide to form a new gang called the Union Clan to fight the Red Rose and take control of the school, which is beginning to descend into anarchy. Soon after forming her new gang, Reiko learns that her father's accident was orchestrated. Like any devoted daughter, she vows revenge. It won't be easy, but once a girl has dealt with the evils of high school, a cabal of heavily armed international drug dealers is a cakewalk. As required by the pinky violence genre, what follows are clouds of cordite and showers of sparks. Doesn't that sound fun? Reiko never disappoints. Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu premiered today in 1973.
When is a flower not a flower and a snake not a snake? In Japanese cinema.
Above you see a poster for the Nikkatsu Studios roman porno movie Hana to hebi: Jigoku-hen, known in English as Flower and Snake: Sketch of Hell. In this genre, any mention or sight of a flower is liable to be symbolic. Some call them vulvic symbols, some yonic symbols, but in either case something phallic is usually about to rear its ugly head. The movie starred Kaori Asô and Mami Fujimura, and it was second in a Flower and Snake franchise that eventually numbered eight entries, with this one premiering in Japan today in 1985. That puts it outside our vintage purview, since for our purposes we define modern as anything from 1980 and after, but we had to show you the poster art. How could we not? This amazing promo was painted by famed bondage artist Kaname Ozuma, whose work you can see with an image search. Japanese film studios were very interested in bondage, and Japanese audiences must have been too, because many roman porno films with bdsm themes did well at the box office.
Much of the interest in the subject derived from literature, particularly the works of Oniroku Dan, who wrote the source novel for this film. His books were behind about three-dozen roman porno productions. While we don't get these explorations of humiliation and bondage, we understand that every culture has its particulars. For example, if you go on Japanese Wikipedia, celebrities' biographies often contain their blood types. On the other hand, if you go on U.S. Wikipedia, celebrities' biographies often contain their political allegiances. Objectively, both types of information are completely pointless, yet they suggest—interestingly—what obsesses each culture.
What we're saying is that since we're not Japanese, we can't offer much insight into the roman porno wave that swept Japan. We can do the when, where, who, and how of it—but not the why. But we like the posters, the films are usually incredibly well shot, and the actresses are generally stunning, so we watch the movies and tell you whether we liked them. You're probably wondering if we watched Jigoku-hen. We did, and it's what we expected—longform bondage and torture, softcore style, with little shown, but plenty implied. While it stars Asô and the amazing Fujimura, we don't recommend it unless you're okay with plenty of tears and pee. Neither of those are our bag, and if they're yours, maybe talk to someone. Below, Fujimura is happy after washing off the stain of having starred in such a mean and pointless film, while Asô calls home from vacation and tells her family she's recovering fine.
She's just a hunka hunka burning love.
Hijinks at a girls school was a standard trope for Japanese filmmakers, so at the sight of the first school uniform in Yumeno Kyûsaku no shôjo jigoku you'll know what to expect. Known in English as Yumeno Kyusaku's Girl Hell, and Raging Hell Fires, this one, which premiered in Japan today in 1977, falls into the sub-category: upstanding-schoolmaster-who's-not-what-he-seems. It's an adaptation of Kyusaku Yumeno's novel Shojo Jigoku, and features Asami Ogawa as a school misfit and Yûko Asuka as a rich girl, who both learn that the principal Masakazu Kuwayama is a rapey old pervert, and decide to take revenge on him. Without getting too deeply into his misdeeds, we can assure you the man deserves to be punished. For that matter, Ogawa's father is a strange bird too. He and the principal know each other better than their rigidly formal attitudes suggest. After a tragedy strikes, the principal becomes convinced he's being haunted thanks to a curse having to do with a chunk of incinerated brain. How did the movie get all the way to brain briquettes? It's better if you don't know in advance. Overall Yumeno Kyûsaku no shôjo jigoku is interesting. Ogawa in particular gives a very game performance. Is the movie recommendable? Perhaps not quite. But there are worse expenditures of ninety minutes.
Sometimes you can't even give it away.
This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Kanjirundesu, known in English as I Am Aroused and I Can Feel It, and it stars the lovely Jun Izumi, making her film debut. She plays a beautiful young virgin who's fearful of sex. Her friend Panko is already sexually active, but Jun—who's learning how to be a seamstress or tailor at a local vocational school, a fact that causes us to assume she's at least eighteen—is strictly hands off. We can sympathize. We were hands off at eighteen too, though most assuredly not by choice.
When Jun catches her brother Chin masturbating to her, she decides to facilitate the relief of his tensions by asking the always eager Panko to have sex with him. From there the movie evolves into a sort of softcore coming-of-age comedy, with the usual crossed signals and sexual failures. The whole thing has a juvenile feel to it, and no wonder—it's based on Daihachi Izumi's youth sleaze novel Jun-chan. If you're looking for the film's western analog, think Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Sex Drive. We mean in terms of mood, not plot. Kanjirundesu has more nudity, lesbian undertones, and far more premature ejaculation.
Does Jun finally find someone to be the first entry on her ledger? Well, it wouldn't be a softcore movie if she didn't. A little face-sitting—someone else's face, not hers—gets her started down the road to pleasure. That may sound weird, but actually the best thing about this movie is that it's from Nikkatsu Studios but doesn't get too crazy. There's some peeing, though. Whaddaya gonna do? If you've read our other write-ups of Nikkatsu's output you know how far beyond the pale those folks could venture, so a little urine is acceptable. Kanjirundesu is dumb but worth a watch. It premiered in Japan today in 1976.
She's been around to visit once or twice.
You may think we posted this kneeling image of Japanese actress Reiko Ike back in November, but it isn't the same. We had to reverse it to match the previous shot to see the subtle differences. The facial expression, details of the hair, the angle of the camera, and especially the position of her hands are all new. Reiko has also covered herself more fully in today's pose. In the earlier one—let's just say censorship standards were being pushed. In addition, this photo is more retouched. In the previous one you can see the blue veins in her skin. That image was published in Weekly Playboy in 1974, but this one appeared two years earlier as part of the magazine's 1972 Reiko Ike calendar, which we've been documenting since January. There are only four short months to go until that project ends, but fret not, Reiko lovers—we have enough photos of her to last long past December.
These sisters do everything together—including men.
This unusual poster was made to promote the Nikkatsu Studios roman porno flick Yogisha no Onna, starring Mari Tanaka, one of hardest working women on Nikkatsu's roster. She made eighteen films from 1971 to ’73, streaking like a comet across the sexploitation firmament. In Yogisha no Onna she stars as an obviously disturbed woman living with her sister Keiko Tsuzuki in a big, Western style house with their invalid father. The sisters have a love-hate relationship. The love: they share baths. The hate: they share a man. The latter occurs after their father finds Tsuzuki what he thinks is a suitable fiancée, jealousy results, and Tanaka decides that what's good for the sis is good for the sibling. Where does it all lead? If you want the answer you'll have to find out for yourself. We'll just say that as a somewhat early film from the roman porno cycle, Yogisha no Onna is neither unbearably weird nor unconscionably misogynistic, though it's not exactly a portrait of normal social adjustment either. It's possible serious fans of the genre will find the movie too tame, but personally, considering where some of the subsequent roman pornos went, tame was just fine with us. Yogisha no Onna premiered in Japan today in 1972.
You'll really believe a girl boss can fly.
Above: an alternate poster for Document porno: Shin sukeban, which is a roman porno flick from Nikkatsu Studios that in English was called Semi Documentary: Truly High School Girl Boss. It premiered in Japan today in 1973. The poster is worth sharing mainly because it features a different—and more modest—martial arts kick than on the tateken promo we showed you before. What do we mean by more modest? Look here and find out.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1966—LSD Declared Illegal in U.S.
LSD, which was originally synthesized by a Swiss doctor and was later secretly used by the CIA on military personnel, prostitutes, the mentally ill, and members of the general public in a project code named MKULTRA, is designated a controlled substance in the United States.
1945—Hollywood Black Friday
A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators becomes a riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios when strikers and replacement workers clash. The event helps bring about the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, which, among other things, prohibits unions from contributing to political campaigns and requires union leaders to affirm they are not supporters of the Communist Party.
1957—Sputnik Circles Earth
The Soviet Union launches the satellite Sputnik I, which becomes the first artificial object to orbit the Earth. It orbits for two months and provides valuable information about the density of the upper atmosphere. It also panics the United States into a space race that eventually culminates in the U.S. moon landing.
1970—Janis Joplin Overdoses
American blues singer Janis Joplin is found dead on the floor of her motel room in Los Angeles. The cause of death is determined to be an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol.
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