Vintage Pulp Jun 23 2014
MONA RIZA MYSTERY
Like the mysterious Da Vinci painting we can’t figure out this piece of art.


Above and below are two posters for Iwataro Ishii’s Mona Riza okyo, which was based on the graphic novel of the same name by Teruo Tanashita, and stars Mari Atsumi as a pickpocket trying to get her hands on a valuable but elusive diamond pin called the Star of the Sea. Strangely, the word “Kyoto” clearly appears in the poster titles—it’s the last symbol on both—but all the sources we checked said the film is called Mona Riza okyo. It’s a mystery too deep for us to solve, but if any of you can shed some light on it please drop us a line. Mona Riza okyo premiered in Japan today in 1971.

Update: David W. writes in and tells us: Indeed the last word on each poster is Okyo, not Kyoto.

Mystery solved. Thanks David for your help.

Update 2: NelC offers a more detailed explanation of the title. Here's what he wrote: The transliteration of the subject line is indeed Mona Lisa O-Kyō. The proper name for Kyōto is 京都市, "Kyōto-shi" or "Kyoto City" in English. 京都 is "Kyōto." 京 is "Kyō." 京 by itself means "capital" as in "capital city," and お is an honorific, so お京 might be read as "the capital." (モナリサ is, of course, "Mona Lisa.")

So the title might be read as "The Capital Mona Lisa." The significance of this is beyond my meagre abilities in Japanese, though. A colloquialism for "the great," maybe, as in Wodehouse-era British English? I don't know.

Thank you NelC. Your excellent explanation is more than we could have reasonably hoped for. Mystery solved, again.

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Vintage Pulp May 2 2014
MEDUSA'S TOUCH
One caress and you’re hers.


Above, an alternate version of the poster for Denki kurage: kawaii akuma, aka Electric Medusa: Lovely Wicked Woman, aka Play it Cool, with Mari Atsumi. See the slightly different version we posted in 2011 here. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 26 2012
MARI XMAS
Topless in Tokyo.

Above, a poster for Yoshio Inoue’s Kawaii Akuma: Iimono ageru, aka Just for You, starring Mari Atsumi and Keiko Takahashi. Atsumi became a major star in Japanese cinema, appearing mainly in Daiei Studios productions, and later transitioning into television and pop music. We have more Atsumi here and here, and we'll feature her again later. Kawaii Akuma: Iimono ageru premiered in Japan yesterday in 1970. 


 
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Vintage Pulp May 2 2011
PROUD MARI
Have you ever been to Electric Medusa land?

Above, another Japanese promo poster featuring Mari Atsumi, this one for director Yasuzo Masumura’s Denki kurage: kawaii akuma, which was known internationally by the great title Electric Medusa: Lovely Wicked Woman, but which was known in the U.S. as Play It Cool. It premiered in Japan today in 1970. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 25 2011
ATSUMI POSITION
Drowning in the sea of love.

Above is a beautiful promotional poster of Mari Atsumi for her 1970 pinku flick (and here we go again with the made up titles, but what can we do?) Night Sea Anemones, or possibly Sea Anemones at Night. We’ve explained this title thing before—i.e., for these films that never had a western release we have to come up with a title without actually understanding Japanese. We recognize some characters, and can look up others, but ultimately what we produce can be, let’s just say, fanciful. On this one, though, we think we’re pretty close. And even if we aren’t, screw it—our title sounds cool. Another Atsumi below, and more here. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 4 2010
PROFILE IN KURAGE
There’s something about Mari.

The nice poster you see above is for Yasuzo Masumura’s erotic melodrama Shibire kurageThe title has something to do with jellyfish, but rather than rely upon such an esoteric concept, for its international release the film’s name was dumbed down to something literal: Hot Little Girl. The hot girl in question here is Mari Atsumi, starring as a go-go dancer who runs afoul of the yakuza, and she makes this one watchable even when the ominous strings washing continually over the soundtrack make you wish violins were never invented. You can see the entire movie online here, in Japanese. Shibire kurage opened in Japan yesterday in 1970. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 01
1910—Los Angeles Times Bombed
A massive dynamite bomb destroys the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles, California, killing 21 people. Police arrest James B. McNamara and his brother John J. McNamara. Though the brothers are represented by the era's most famous lawyer, Clarence Darrow, of Scopes Monkey Trial fame, they eventually plead guilty. James is convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. His brother John is convicted of a separate bombing of the Llewellyn Iron Works and also sent to prison.
1975—Ali Defeats Frazier in Manila
In the Philippines, an epic heavyweight boxing match known as the Thrilla in Manila takes place between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. It is the third, final and most brutal match between the two, and Ali wins by TKO in the fourteenth round.
September 30
1955—James Dean Dies in Auto Accident
American actor James Dean, who appeared in the films Giant, East of Eden, and the iconic Rebel without a Cause, dies in an auto accident at age 24 when his Porsche 550 Spyder is hit head-on by a larger Ford coupe. The driver of the Ford had been trying to make a left turn across the rural highway U.S. Route 466 and never saw Dean's small sports car approaching.
1962—Chavez Founds UFW
Mexican-American farm worker César Chávez founds the United Farm Workers in California. His strikes, marches and boycotts eventually result in improved working conditions for manual farm laborers and today his birthday is celebrated as a holiday in eight U.S. states.
September 29
1916—Rockefeller Breaks the Billion Barrier
American industrialist John D. Rockefeller becomes America's first billionaire. His Standard Oil Company had gained near total control of the U.S. petroleum market until being broken up by anti-trust legislators in 1911. Afterward, Rockefeller used his fortune mainly for philanthropy, and had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research.

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