Vintage Pulp Dec 18 2014
JELLYFISH'S STING
The bright lights look pretty but they can blind you to the danger.


These two panel length posters promote the pinku flicks Neon kurage and its sequel Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha. We also have a normal promo for Neon kurage below. The movies, though well known, never had any Western releases as far as we know, but would be called Neon Jellyfish and something like Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Float. Shinjuku is a place, so that’s easy enough to grasp, but we were unsure on the “float” aspect until we looked it up. It seems to derive from a type of Japanese tram decorated with flowers in the manner of a parade float, but its secondary meaning has something to do with sexual performance, specifically vaginal insertions of, well… anything from blowguns to ping pong balls.

We're happy to say you’ll see none of that in these movies. They’re about as explicit as your average Cinemax feature, though as we’ve mentioned before, not being able to show anything actually makes the directors—in these instances Naito Makoto and Kazuhiko Yamaguchi—go the extra mile with visual tricks and clever juxtapositions. The story in both movies revolves around star Emiko Yamauchi’s employment in seedy Tokyo sex bars. In the first movie she’s pursued by a photographer who uses devious means to turn her into a nude model, and in the second she escapes her village in the sticks and meets a professional cyclist who’s tangled up with some thugs in a race-fixing racket. Problems ensue in both instances.

Yamauchi only appeared in a handful of productions, but the term masterpiece was thrown around by some critics when writing about Neon Jellyfish. Yamaucho was also in School of the Holy Beast, which we discussed here. As a side note, there are dozens of websites now offering to stream or sell or preview this genre of movies, but of course they have nothing but malware and viruses. We are immune, thanks to Apple. If you aren’t, don’t dare go looking. You’ll get stung right in the hard drive. Neon kurage premiered June 20, 1973, and Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha premiered today the same year.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 18 2014
ACCORDING TO SCHEDULE
They say art is good therapy. But maybe not in this case.


Chûsei Sone’s Irogoyomi onna ukiyoe-shi, which was known in the West as Eros Schedule Book: Female Artist, is the story of an unsuccessful painter in Edo period Japan who, after his wife is raped while picking herbs by a river, swears revenge upon the man who disrupted their lives. Meanwhile the trauma unlocks something inside the wife that she deals with by beginning to paint her own canvasses. Her violent works all include images of her rapist, and as the paintings become more acclaimed, the rapist becomes a sort of local celebrity and the husband becomes more sexually alienated and professionally jealous. This is all disturbing enough, but it’s of course merely setting the stage for the rapist’s reappearance.

The movie was well reviewed, especially for a pinku, but like many from the genre it’s almost impossible to find outside of Japan. That may be a good thing—we appreciate that the male antagonists in these movies generally suffer gruesome fates, and while that is quite satisfying, these plots just don’t play well today. Sone, who was just beginning his directorial career, would go on to helm many other movies over the course of two decades. Conversely, the star of Irogoyomi onna ukiyoe-shi, Setsuko Ogawa, like a whirlwind appeared in twenty-five films in a mere three years before pretty much vanishing from the scene. Irogoyomi onna ukiyoe-shi, which by the way is not part of the nine-film Eros Schedule Book series made around the same time, premiered in Japan today in 1971.


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Vintage Pulp Dec 1 2014
REVENGE SERVED COLD
Meiko Kaji takes vengeance to a whole new level.

The action drama Shurayuki-hime, aka Lady Snowblood, is considered classic cinema for good reasons—it’s bold, lyirical, and stylish, with an unusual narrative structure and a great star in Meiko Kaji. Every piece of art we have on this game-changing movie appears below, and as far as we can discern much of it has never before been shared online. Shurayuki-hime premiered in Japan today in 1973. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 21 2014
GAMBLING ADDICTION
When you play with her you’re betting your life.

Above, a rare alternate poster for the very entertaining pinku flick Hidirimen bakuto, aka Red Silk Gambler, with Reiko Ike. The movie, which we touched upon briefly a few years ago, opened in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 17 2014
THE SCORPION'S STING
Someone’s going to pay for what happened—in full, plus interest.

This poster for Shin joshuu sasori: 701-gô, aka New Female Prisoner Scorpion: 701 promotes the first film in what today might be called a franchise reboot. Meiko Kaji established the character of Prisoner 701 in four hit films, and a few years after she left Toei Company decided to resurrect the series with Yumi Takigawa in the lead. Framed for murder, she ends up in a women’s prison where she’s harassed, sexually assaulted, and marked for death. A prison riot finally gives her the chance at revenge, and lets just say she takes full advantage.

She feels even less forgiving once she escapes, meaning she has a score to settle with the men who railroaded her in the first place. You know what to expect, so we don’t really need to go into detail. The poster above is an ekibari, which we gather means it was made for subway walls, and it’s in bo style, which seemingly means two pieces. Below we have the bo-ekibari in its separate, very cool sections, with Takigawa giving the stare of death that’s usually the last sight of her enemies’ lives. Shin joshuu sasori: 701-gô premiered in Japan today in 1976. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 1 2014
ONE COOL CAT
No helmet, no jacket, no problem.

The above poster is the original promo Kôyû Ohara’s motorcycle gang roman porno Shiroi mesuneko: mahiru no ecstasy, aka White Female Cat: Ecstasy at High Noon, and as you can see star Hitomi Kozue is completely flouting the mandatory helmet ordinance. Well, the point of riding a motorcycle is to feel the wind blow through your… er, hair. We haven’t screened this one, but we love the poster so we thought we’d show it to you anyway on its premier date, which was today in 1975.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 22 2014
HARM SCHOOL
One wrong answer and you’re done.

Sachi Hamano’s pinku flick Bankaku joshikökösei no sex to böryoku no jittai was retitled for its English language release True Story of Sex and Violence in a Female High School. If you’d like to experience a bit of digital age paranoia, think about inputting that online as a search term knowing that various entities are saving your browsing data forever. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you, and though we haven’t managed to find a copy of the movie, we know it involves Hitomi Kozue earning her way into her local high school’s female gang, which is led by Naomi Oka, and later realizing that the two were already linked by a terrible event in Oka’s past. In addition to the two main stars you get Meika Sera, Noriko Igarashi, and Hidetoshi Kageyama. If we ever find a copy of this we’ll screen it and report back. In the meantime, enjoy a previously unseen promo shot of Hitomi Kozue, below. Bankaku joshikökösei no sex to böryoku no jittai premiered in Japan today in 1973. 

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Femmes Fatales Sep 9 2014
LEARNING CURVES
Suddenly being the teacher’s pet doesn’t sound so bad.

Just because we had it sitting on our hard drive, here’s an image of Japanese actress Yuki Kazamatsuri, who we discussed just last week after watching her movie Onna kyôshi-gari, aka Female Teacher Hunting. She posed for this promo image around that time, 1982. 

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Intl. Notebook Sep 7 2014
FOAM ALONE
Reiko Ike again demonstrates the utility of soap foam for covering her naughty bits.

Remember a while back when we watched Sukeban berûsu: mesubachi no chosen, aka Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Challenge, and got such a kick out of Reiko Ike's brief bathtub scene? We stumbled across this promo shot from the film, and once again she shows a deft hand for manipulating foam. The photo shows less than the film—in that she didn’t cover her top half, but in any case, this is a fun shot. Check out our previous post on the movie here.

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Modern Pulp Aug 28 2014
ILL WILL HUNTING
Yes, in pinku films there actually is a point to all that bloodspray.


You know what we like about pinku films? Their symmetry. Generally, slimy guys have the upper hand for about 65 minutes before the girls band together and, to the accompaniment of arterial bloodspray to spice things up, shoot them or stab them or chop off their heads. It’s nice. Balanced. In that way they’re like blaxploitation movies. In those, generally, the villain meets ruin at the hands of a black hero or anti-hero. Nice, you see? The films touch on serious problems—sexism and racism—but in a freewheeling, taboo-busting fashion that both entertains and makes the antagonist’s eventual violent demise a catharsis for audiences that know the wicked aren’t generally punished in real life. Taking all that into account then, you can see why removing the cathartic revenge from the proceedings would be problematic.

But that’s exactly what has happened with Onna kyôshi-gari, aka Female Teacher Hunting. Director Junichi Suzuki and writer Hiroshi Saitô, at the behest of Nikkatsu Studios, actually want to make a serious movie about gender roles and sex, but cloaked in a quasi-pinku flick in which a student falsely accused of sexual assault is driven by stress and rage over his predicament to later commit a sexual assault. It’s all beautifully shot andquite well acted, but what’s the message here? Was the monster always part of this man? Was he falsely accused because his accuser already saw this in him? Does the old saying about how any man will kill under the right circumstances also apply to rape? All are worthy themes to explore, but not embedded in a movie genre that by nature trivializes serious questions.
 
But the message of Onna kyôshi-gari might be something else entirely. Maybe it’s simply telling us—at a time when women were gaining more control over their own bodies and, after long last, wresting an iota of political power from the male establishment—that sexual consent was becoming a blurrier concept for confused men losing their hold on the top of the pyramid. But we don’t buy that either. For our part, we can’t remember the line between consent and coercion being blurry—at least not outside well-crafted fiction, and certainly not during the 1980s, when this movie was made. But as always there’s the one disclaimer—we aren’tJapanese, have never lived in Japan, and don’t know the culture deeply. If there’s one thing we’ve learned doing this site it’s that language, psychology, behavior, metaphors and signifiers simply don’t translate from culture to culture. In other words, for all we know this may be considered in Japan to be a wildly feminist movie. Nevertheless, we have to assess Onna kyôshi-gari as best we can with our deficiencies, and we say: interesting effort, but in pinku, realism without revenge converts the sex to sadism, and this entire movie into an anti-feminist polemic.

The star of the film (and poster), Yuki Kazamatsuri, in the final scene discovers a killifish inexplicably living in a swimming pool. She observes to her female friend, “Killifish are strong—I guess they can live even in a pool.” And of course the fish are metaphorical women and the pool is male-dominated society. But sorry, after an entire plot suggestingwomen are complicit in their own degradation, a morsel of dialogue telling us they’re tough enough to take it (and men are to be forgiven for supposed weakness) doesn’t excuse what came before. On the contrary—it makes it worse. Onna kyôshi-gari premiered in Japan today in 1982.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 22
1972—Plane Crash Victims Found in Andes
The Chilean Air force locates fourteen survivors from a plane that had crashed in the Argentine Andes two months earlier. Four days after the rescue, a Santiago, Chile newspaper alleges that the survivors became cannibals to ward off starvation. The surviving group confirms that they ate human flesh at a press conference two days later.
December 21
1958—de Gaulle Elected President of France
World War II hero General Charles de Gaulle is elected President of France by an overwhelming majority. During his time he leads France to develop nuclear weapons, ends the French presence in Algeria, and survives several assassination attempts. He eventually retires to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, in north-east France, and dies from a heart attack on 9 November 1970.
December 20
1989—U.S. Invades Panama
The United States invades Panama with the goal of overthrowing the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega. Noriega had been a CIA agent for many years, and because of this special status, U.S. drug authorities had turned a blind eye toward his activities, which included helping to create a crack cocaine epidemic in American inner cities. In 1988, Senator John Kerry's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations concluded that the Noriega saga represented one of the most serious foreign policy failures in U.S. history.

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