It's rough going for anyone who gets on Meiko's bad side.
Above we have another promo poster for Meiko Kaji's pinky violence actioner Nora-neko rokku: Bôsô shudan ’71, aka Stray Cat Rock: Crazy Rider ’71, aka Stray Cat Rock: Beat ’71, which premiered in Japan today in—you guessed it—’71. This great poster is just as rare as the others we shared. See those here and here.
Hurray! It's a whole new decade!
It's been a long time since we featured Japanese actress Yayoi Watanabe. While she wasn't the most important pinku star of her era, she appeared in an absolute mass of cool promo photos, one of which appears above. This one captures our sense of optimism for the upcoming decade. We expect huge leaps of progress, wider horizons, amazing new discoveries, and limitless fun. We mean on our website. What—did you think we meant the world? No, that's totally screwed. Let's not think about that at all.
Polish painter turns pain into an abstract concept.
This Polish promo poster was made for the 1965 Japanese psychodrama Utsukushisa to kanashimi to, which in Poland was called Piekno i ból. That translates to “beauty and pain,” whereas the Japanese translates as “with beauty and sorrow.” Both translations are apt descriptions of the movie, which is just as bizarre and twisted as the poster art. We talked about it a while back, so if you're interested have a look here. The poster was painted by Maciej Hibner, a well regarded illustrator active during the ’50s and ’60s whose output is considered collectible today. A lot of his stuff has this same fine art look, which is very different than what we usually share here, but worth a gander just for the sake of its stark contrast with the Japanese poster. We may try to dig up more on Hibner later.
Etsuko Shihomi gets her kicks fighting a diamond smuggling syndicate.
You see a poster like this and you know you've got a winner of a film on your hands. Not necessarily a good film, in the conventional sense, but one you know is going to be fun. This long promo, which you'll find nowhere else online, was made for Onna hissatsu ken: Kiki ippatsu, known in English speaking countries as Sister Street Fighter: Hanging by a Thread. It premiered in Japan today in 1974 and starred martial arts wizardress Etsuko Shihomi in the sequel to Onna hissatsu ken, aka Sister Street Fighter. This time she heads to Yokohama and battles diamond smugglers who surgically implant their improbably massive contraband stones into the buttocks of Chinese prostitutes. These bad guys are really evil. When a member of their organization screws up she gets her eyes stabbed out. See below. Surely there are better jobs out there, even if one has to sink to temp work or waiting tables at Applebee's. Does Shihomi defeat the mad surgical mafia of Yokohama? Hah. What a question. In terms of karate films, she was just getting started, as the stack of posters we'll be uploading in the future will attest. Speaking of which, we have the standard promo for Kiki ippatsu below, not as rare as the above, but still a nice piece of art.
You know, maybe I should stop storing my bras in the very top of the closet.
Above, another brilliant image of Japanese roman porno actress Hitomi Kozue, who always makes a genius out of any photographer she works with. See other spectacular visuals from her here, here, and here.
New main ingredient, same old Female Prisoner Scorpion.
We've already shared two posters for Yumi Takigawa's women-in-prison pinky violence flick Shin joshuu sasori: 701-gô, aka New Female Prisoner Scorpion: 701, which premiered today in 1976. Above is the slightly different tateken sized poster, added here for the sake of completeness. The film is a reboot of the original Female Prisoner Scorpion series starring Meiko Kaji, and most consider it to be of lesser quality than the first four films, but quality is a relative term in pinku. Some would say all the films are bad. Not us. But some would say that. Bonus material: a Yumi promo image below. And you can see the other posters here and here.
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.
Seems like she always gets roped into these situations.
Izumi Shima seems too ethereally beautiful to be an icon of ’80s roman porno flicks, yet that's what she is. She was popular in those roles partly because she looks innocent, and innocence corrupted is a standard theme in the genre. We've talked about her often, so just click her keywords to find more. This photo of her dates from 1983.
If you're looking for a tale with a happy ending look somewhere else.
We're doing a pinku double-dip today because life is short and the shit we want to post keeps piling up. Even at an increased rate it'll take another ten years to get this stuff uploaded. Will websites as we understand them even exist then? Will blogs exist? We've already read that blogging is dead. Multiple times. Well, we keep chugging along, and today's journey involves two more promos, these for Nikkatsu Studios' infamous roman porno drama Dabide no hoshi: Bishôjo-gari, aka Beautiful Girl Hunter, which is based on a Maasaki Soto manga and premiered in Japan today in 1979. That's Hiromi Namino on the art, who as far as we know made only one other film.
So we watched this, and yup, it's twisted. Long story short, an escaped lunatic commits a rape which results in a pregnancy, and the rape child grows up to become a rapist. Every taboo is shattered in this one, including ones you've never imagined. As we always note for readers unfamiliar with this genre, there's no actual sex, no frontal nudity. Everything is done with camera angles, the power of suggestion, and acting. Still... holy fuck. But what you really want to know is whether the movie is any good. Objectively it's well made, but it also made us question whether liking roman porno posters and being interested in the genre's history and culture are sufficient enough reasons to keep watching the films.
Yet there are also serious points in this movie about intergenerational violence, and whether it's at all possible for parents to love (or even treat decently) a child conceived via rape. To us, neither question feels responsibly examined enough to justify the existence of the movie. After all, it's first and foremost a piece of sexploitation, and the steady supply of nudity sort of undercuts any serious intent. We much prefer Toei Company's pinky violence films. The women in those either win or cause a hell of a lot of trouble trying. By contrast films like Beautiful Girl Hunter feel deliberately regressive, as we've noted before. These Nikkatsu guys will be the end of us yet.
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