Like Einstein said, if you want to understand relativity, watch a bad roman porno film and time will slow to a crawl.
Ever get sexually aroused when having your teeth drilled? No? Us either. But Nikkatsu Studios' infamous roman porno films leave no fetish unexplored, so in the opening sequence of Hirusagari no onna: chohatsu! aka Woman of the Afternoon: Incite!, Yûko Asada gets turned on when a dentist drills her teeth. Weird, right? But we aren't disparaging the dental masochists among us. If inner ear vibrational resonance floats your boat, we say just do it.
Later Natusko Yashiro gets plain drilled in a dentist's chair. This dentist is her husband, and she doesn't want to bear children because it will ruin her body. After being pressured on this issue she flees in her car, and thus begins an odyssey of Grecian proportions. During her travels she has several bizarre mishaps and stumbles upon assorted weirdos who, for reasons ranging from persistent neurosis to sheer psychopathy, all bring her to harm. The harm escalates to degradation, most of which takes place at a rural restaurant several bad men take over and turn into a carnival of violence and rape.
You'd suspect the point of all this is something about social decay, but we're not qualified to venture a guess. We just know that by the end credits, which arrive a mere sixty-seven minutes after Nikkatsu's opening logo but feel fifty reels too late, we thought we'd had our teeth drilled—with zero sexual arousal involved. Roman porno films may be softcore, but they sure can be hard on the psyche. Hirusagari no onna: chohatsu! premiered in Japan today in 1979.
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.
Nikkatsu pushes the envelope of taste—and social responsibility—with Okasu!
Above, a poster for the roman porno flick Okasu!, which premiered in Japan today in 1976. The title here, in a rare occurrence, translates directly—Rape! Considering that Nikkatsu Studios made hundreds of roman porno movies (short for “romantic porno”), and they were wildly successful at the box office, we take them seriously and seek to understand them. So we watched this and... we don't understand. Starring Natsuko Yashiro, who you may remember from her female diver movies, and co-starring Naomi Tani and Yuri Yamashina, Okasu! is the story of a rape victim who develops an obsession for her attacker and searches the city for him, constantly exposing herself to similar dangers.
To be clear, we make no cultural judgments here—around the same time on the U.S. soap opera General Hospital, Luke raped Laura and became the number one hunk on daytime television. So we're not failing to understand Okasu! from a cultural vantage point, but from a generational vantage point. We don't find non-consensual anything sexy. From our perspective this dubious flick has only two plusses: there's a highly ironic, even grimly comical, ending; and Yashiro masturbates with a walnut, which we never knew was possible. Wanna try it? Follow her lead below. But when you're making your way through vintage Japanese movies give this one a pass.
Everybody in the whole cellblock is in for a jailhouse shock.
Above, a nice poster with Erina Miyai and Natsuko Yashiro for Onna keimusho, aka Women's Prison, about a woman whose fiancée strays on their wedding day, prompting her to attack her romantic rival, leading to her being sentenced to a stint in the big house. Friends and enemies are made, sex and sexual assault occurs, and an escape leads to a showdown with the fiancée whose wandering dick started the whole mess in the first place. The photos below show Miyai and Yashiro in happier times, before they became hardened felons. Onna keimusho premiered in Japan today in 1978.
She sells seashells by the seashore.
Here you see the promo poster from Nikkatsu’s roman porno Shikijô ama midare tsubo, aka Lusty Ama: Stirred-Up Pot. It’s the tale of a beautiful young ama (female pearl or abalone diver) and her relationship with her brother, or half-brother—we don’t know which because we weren’t able to track down a copy of this one, nor even a real review. But it’s probably in the same vein as this one, which we discussed a few months ago. Like that movie, Shikijô ama midare tsubo stars Natsuko Yashiro, and in addition to being featured on the poster she appears below in an almost identical promo shot. As always, we feel compelled to mention that roman porno stands for “romantic porno” and such movies feature no actual sex, despite the interesting connotations of the “stirred-up pot” metaphor. However, plenty of good-natured nudity is pretty much guaranteed in these movies and for people like us that more than suffices. Shikijô ama midare tsubo premiered in Japan today in 1976.
Usually she wears a wetsuit to work but today the dress code is business casual.
Above is a poster for Isao Hayashi’s 1978 roman porno Inzetsu ama: Uzuku, which if you run across in English will be called… well, we don’t really know. Most websites that use English call it “Lewdness Woman Diver,” which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. It isn’t a direct translation either, because we know that the big red characters staring you in the face say “tingling.” We also know that an ama is a female diver who traditionally foraged in the water for delicacies like sea urchins and lobsters, but these days is more famous for pearl diving.
So you have a tingling female diver here. And we’re tingling too, just a little. Anyway, we looked around for a review and all we were able to find out is that it’s about an ama in a fishing village. The movie falls into Nikkatsu’s misleadingly named roman porno genre, misleading because “roman” is actually short for “romantic” and these aren’t porn movies, but rather softcores. We mention that every time, don’t we? Well, our parents read the site. Understood, parentals? Not porno.
In any case, the poster is a real eyecatcher. We did an extensive search online and we’re sure this is the only place you can see it without Natsuko Yashiro’s boobs obscured, because apparently breasts are absolutely corrupting and you’ll start foaming at the mouth if you see even one. Although maybe we shouldn’t joke. We are still tingling. Okay, that’s enough rambling for today. Except to say that Yashiro, who you also see in two promo shots below, did at least one more of these ama movies and we’ll show you the even nicer art for that on its premiere date in July.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1918—Wilson Goes to Europe
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails to Europe for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, France, becoming the first U.S. president to travel to Europe while in office.
1921—Arbuckle Manslaughter Trial Ends
In the U.S., a manslaughter trial against actor/director Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ends with the jury deadlocked as to whether he had killed aspiring actress Virginia Rappe during rape and sodomy. Arbuckle was finally cleared of all wrongdoing after two more trials, but the scandal ruined his career and personal life.
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.
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.
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