Hitomi Kozue finds herself Onna tough job assignment.
By now you've certainly gotten the feeling that we like Japanese actress Hitomi Kozue. We've featured her often, and above you see her on a poster for Onna hisho no kokuhaku: kaniku no shitatari, which was retitled for its English language release Confessions of a Female Secretary: Juice from the Fruit. You have to take a moment to appreciate the baroque weirdness of that title. Quite evocative, no? In addition to the theatrical promo above, we have the DVD cover below. We never share those, but this one is actually pretty nice and features an image of Kozue we hadn't seen before.
The movie deals with an office worker employed at the most Weinsteinian (or Ailesian, if you prefer) company in Tokyo. Mixed in with unwanted advances from various schlubs are Eyes Wide Shut-style masked orgies, drug induced psychedelia, woodland humping, and other kinks and extracurriculars. The end result is another roman porno effort from Nikkatsu Studios about a woman's sexual exploitation and eventual embrace of her own depravity. Ah, the wet dreams of male screenwriters—so perverted, so consistent. Onna hisho no kokuhaku: kaniku no shitatari premiered in Japan today in 1976.
Yes, yes! A thousand and one times, yes!
Yes! We're excited because we found yet another astonishingly rare Japanese poster. This was made to promote Tokyo eros senya ichiya, which would translate approximately as “Tokyo One Thousand and One Nights,” but is known in English as Eros Nights in Tokyo. You won't see this anywhere else. At least not uncensored. Now the bad news. Just like a few years ago when we shared the film's standard promo, we're still looking for a damn copy to watch. It stars Izumi Shima, Megi Ayako, and Erina Miyai, and that's a trio we want to see anytime. But it'll have to wait. In the meantime, gaze upon the celestial Izumi in a zoom below, and check her out here and here. For that matter, check out Irina Miyai here. Tokyo eros senya ichiya premiered in Japan today in 1979.
She gets into these situations so you don't have to.
This poster is an addendum to our earlier write-up on this film, Osoe!, a hit roman porno from Nikkatsu Studios starring Erina Miyai, who spent her entire career getting into pickles like this one. This is basically the original promo poster, reversed and with all the text removed except the title. It was unusual for title-only art like this to be produced, which is why when we found it we thought we'd better share. We also share some thoughts on the film. Just look here. Osoe! premiered in Japan today in 1978.
Uwasa matter with a little casual sex?
Redeeming ourselves from being unable to find the last two pinku films we shared posters for, today we have another promo—and we were able to see the film. This one is called Onna kyôshi: Yogoreta uwasa, aka Female Teacher 7: Dirty Rumor, and it's a roman porno starring Erina Miyai, one of the genre's most popular and prolific stars. In fact, she made twenty-seven films in 1977, ’78, and ’79, which is a pace that barely leaves enough time between projects for one's self-esteem to heal. In this one Miyai plays a classics teacher who was raised by a freaky aunt, and has inherited the same proclivities. She doesn't necessarily like being a nymphomaniac, but figures it's out of her hands, since slutty blood runs in her family. So she gets busy with all kinds of guys, in all kinds of places, in all kinds of ways, and rumors start to spread. The principal of her school mentions them. Later, tawdry tales reach one of Miyai's male acquaintances, and the perv attempts to buy her services for thirty-thousand yen. It's hard out there for a congenital nympho. But at the end comes a twist. We won't say what it is, except that we put a hint in our post title. Put on your thinking jimmy caps and it'll come to you. Onna kyôshi: Yogoreta uwasa premiered in Japan today in 1979.I love you, driftwood. You're longer and harder than a man, and you don't pee on the toilet rim. And I also love you, seaweed balls. You give more than any guy, and you never get tired. That's right, I've been sleeping with driftwood and seaweed balls. You don't own me! Deal with it! My life is ruined. What on Earth am I going to do? I really dig you, erotic comic book. Let's not call it love. Why put a label on it at all?
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.
How many wrongs finally make a right?
This poster was made to promote a Nikkatsu Studios roman porno flick titled Osoe!, which in Japanese means “attack.” In typical roman porno fashion, the plot is pretty twisted. In brief, Erina Miyai plays a woman who wants revenge on a corporation for its role in the death of her parents. She goes to a disco and deliberately allows herself to be taken home and gangbanged, all for the purpose of later informing the guys who did it she'll accuse them of rape if they don't kidnap the corporation's CEO for her.
We'll say this much for Nikkatsu—their ideas were certainly creative. In this case, there's a subtext of turning male power against itself, which is all to the good, but of course things never come off quite how the protagonists intend in roman porno. Which is to say, Miyai's plot goes pear shaped. Osoe! is super obscure in the West but was a successful release and even played a few years ago at the famed Laputa Asagaya revival cinema in Tokyo. Its original premiere was today in 1978.
Pink and yellow are normally so cheery.
Zûmu in: Bôkô danchi, for which you see a poster above, is another Nikkatsu roman porno movie, with a serial killer/rapist on the loose dispatching women in baroque and horrible ways. The star of the movie, Erina Miyai, falls victim to a rapist early on but is not killed. When the murders start she wonders if it's the same man. That question is answered quickly, but mystery is not really the point here. The goal seems to be making a mash-up of Japanese pinku (pink film) and Italian giallo (yellow film).
For example, during one of the killings a woman is pursued past an apartment block, but in filmmaking terms she's running in place, which lends the scene the nightmarish quality characteristic of giallo. All the windows beyond her are illuminated, but as she screams for help the lights go out one by one. As far as mixing filmmaking palettes goes, it's nice work. As far as the message, was director Naosuke Kurosawa also trying to tell viewers Japan was becoming inured to violent crime? Perhaps.
Based on the existence of roman porno Japan was for sure becoming inured to violent movies. Zûmu in: Bôkô danchi is more violent than most, but with its deliberate attempt to transcend—however slightly—the requisites of roman porno, it's also better than most. Does that mean it's actually good? Not as such, but for serious film buffs it's worth a glance and a discussion. It premiered today in 1980.
Erina Miyai's world is turned upside down.
Above is a poster for the Nikkatsu roman porno flick Hatachi no sei hakusho: Nokezoru, which premiered in Japan today in 1978. The literal translation of the Japanese title for this is so convoluted and crazy it's useless to even repeat it, but for its international release it was called Brute's Desire, which doesn't bode well. But we love the poster art, and we love Erina Miyai. If the concept of roman porno is new to you just click the keywords below to have all our posts on the subject at your fingertips. Hatachi no sei hakusho: Nokezoru premiered in Japan today in 1978.
Here's hoping for a very good year.
Well, it's official now. We've reached a place we did not even imagine existed when we were children. Remember? You'd be like, “Wow I'd be (insert age) in 2018.” And then you'd turn your thoughts to something else because the idea was so bizarre it didn't even warrant further reflection. Well, we're there now. We have, shockingly, reached the far off year 2018. And there are no flying cars. That's the part that really kills. So to soothe our frazzled nerves, above is a photo of Japanese actress Erina Miyai on a January calendar page circa 1975, and her hint of a smile tells us everything will be fine this year, and hopefully beyond. More Miyai? Click here.
Three may be a crowd, but it's also a lot of fun.
Above is another striking roman porno poster, this one for Tokyo eros senya ichiya. The title means “Tokyo One Thousand and One Nights,” referencing the famed collection of folk and erotic tales from the Islamic Golden Age. But in English the movie was called Eros Nights in Tokyo, which omits the Arabian Nights reference for some reason. We haven't seen this one, but it starred three of our favorite Japanese actresses—Izumi Shima, Megi Ayako, and Erina Miyai—which means we'll be looking for it. If we ever find it we'll revisit this subject. Tokyo eros senya ichiya opened in Japan today in 1979.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1923—Yankee Stadium Opens
In New York City, Yankee Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, opens with the Yankees beating their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox 4 to 1. The stadium, which is nicknamed The House that Ruth Built, sees the Yankees become the most successful franchise in baseball history. It is eventually replaced by a new Yankee Stadium and closes in September 2008.
1961—Bay of Pigs Invasion Is Launched
A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro. However, the invasion fails badly and the result is embarrassment for U.S. president John F. Kennedy and a major boost in popularity for Fidel Castro, and also has the effect of pushing him toward the Soviet Union for protection.
1943—First LSD Trip Takes Place
Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, while working at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, accidentally absorbs lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD, and thus discovers its psychedelic properties. He had first synthesized the substance five years earlier but hadn't been aware of its effects. He goes on to write scores of articles and books about his creation.
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