Femmes Fatales Jul 31 2021
RAW HISHIMI
Yuriko gets fresh in her bestselling photo book.


We could have gone several directions in posting a photo of Japanese actress Yuriko Hishimi, who appeared in such films as Kôshoku: Genroku (maruhi) monogatari, aka Diary of a Nymphomaniac, and Chikyû kogeki meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan, aka Godzilla vs. Gigan. We have shots of her in swimsuits, in flannels, in motorcycle leathers, in auto racing gear, in a nurse's outfit, and more. But underneath all those, there's this. Even then there are many choices because she has entire books of nudes. Well, one third of one book, and all of two others. One of her solo efforts, a big seller, was called Yuriko 1967-73, and this is one of the images from inside.

Japanese actresses posed nude often, which is why we have so many of the shots on our website. They were made, on average, fifty years ago. Today, in our current era, photos of nudes cause debate. Are they artful, or are they exploitation? If they differ from a nude Rodin or Modigliani, is it because of their realism? Is it because of their easy replicability? Or their existence outside a museum setting? Then what of a shocking museum Mapplethorpe or Schiele with the subject's exposed genitals? Perhaps nudes are exploitative only when distributed for profit. But if profit condemns a nude, then what of the profits of galleries and museums? Are nudes exploitative because of their tendency to arouse? Then what of Rodin's famed “Le Baiser”? Since our species owes its very existence to the drive for sex, if nudes arouse, isn't that a celebration of our ultimate purpose on this planet?

These are questions that interest us, which we attempt to ask with each nude image. Opinions differ, but for our part we don't believe there's anything inherently exploitative about the nude form, though clearly the production of such images can lead to that. But we don't live in an all-things-are-equal world, which is to say, for some it's easier to categorize and condemn all of something than try to understand which things might actually be in one category and which might be in another. We believe some nudes are exploitative (such as revenge porn), but not all. The photo above is a Rodin with a knowing look. It's erotic, playful, and a little shy. It's pure art. Which is why we have a similar bonus shot below, and more from Hishimi here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 14 2015
THE LIMITS OF CONTROL
Yet another attempt to constrain a woman’s sexuality ends in disaster.

Kôshoku: Genroku (maruhi) monogatari, aka Story of a Nymphomaniac is the tale of a free-spirited woman living during Genroku era Japan who wants to be happy but can’t seem to find the right guy. Natsu, played by the lovely Yuriko Hishimi, who you see in a promo shot below, is always horny (she believes semen nourishes her), and always conniving (at one point she pretends to be pregnant—complete with a pillow under her kimono), but her troubles don’t stem from her sexual urges. No, they stem largely from male assumptions that she’s available to any of them.

Indeed, the fictional character of Natsu may live in the 1600s, but her problems are very 2015. Yet she isn’t blameless. She digs a kimono merchant and won’t leave him alone even though he’s married. Bad things are bound to happen. Turns out matrimonial vows are elastic to him too. Bad things are really bound to happen. While all this is done with utter seriousness, there are also bizarre comedic bits here. What can you say about a movie in which a snake crawls in a woman’s pussy and she thinks it’s her lover getting frisky? Words fail us.

A direct translation of the movie’s Japanese title would be “Amorous Genroku (secret) story.” Well, there’s no secret here—Natsu is a nympho. But despite all her ups and downs she comes away feeling just fine about herself. And so do we. Kôshoku: Genroku (maruhi) monogatari premiered in Japan today in 1975.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 03
1964—Mass Student Arrests in U.S.
In California, Police arrest over 800 students at the University of California, Berkeley, following their takeover and sit-in at the administration building in protest at the UC Regents' decision to forbid protests on university property.
1968—U.S. Unemployment Hits Low
Unemployment figures are released revealing that the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to 3.3 percent, the lowest rate for almost fifteen years. Going forward all the way to the current day, the figure never reaches this low level again.
December 02
1954—Joseph McCarthy Disciplined by Senate
In the United States, after standing idly by during years of communist witch hunts in Hollywood and beyond, the U.S. Senate votes 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for conduct bringing the Senate into dishonor and disrepute. The vote ruined McCarthy's career.
December 01
1955—Rosa Parks Sparks Bus Boycott
In the U.S., in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city's racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott resulted in a crippling financial deficit for the Montgomery public transit system, because the city's African-American population were the bulk of the system's ridership.
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