Modern Pulp Aug 25 2022
VULVIC SYMBOLS AND PHALLIC SYMBOLS
When is a flower not a flower and a snake not a snake? In Japanese cinema.


Above you see a poster for the Nikkatsu Studios roman porno movie Hana to hebi: Jigoku-hen, known in English as Flower and Snake: Sketch of Hell. In this genre, any mention or sight of a flower is liable to be symbolic. Some call them vulvic symbols, some yonic symbols, but in either case something phallic is usually about to rear its ugly head. The movie starred Kaori Asô and Mami Fujimura, and it was second in a Flower and Snake franchise that eventually numbered eight entries, with this one premiering in Japan today in 1985. That puts it outside our vintage purview, since for our purposes we define modern as anything from 1980 and after, but we had to show you the poster art. How could we not? This amazing promo was painted by famed bondage artist Kaname Ozuma, whose work you can see with an image search. Japanese film studios were very interested in bondage, and Japanese audiences must have been too, because many roman porno films with bdsm themes did well at the box office.

Much of the interest in the subject derived from literature, particularly the works of Oniroku Dan, who wrote the source novel for this film. His books were behind about three-dozen roman porno productions. While we don't get these explorations of humiliation and bondage, we understand that every culture has its particulars. For example, if you go on Japanese Wikipedia, celebrities' biographies often contain their blood types. On the other hand, if you go on U.S. Wikipedia, celebrities' biographies often contain their political allegiances. Objectively, both types of information are completely pointless, yet they suggest—interestingly—what obsesses each culture.

What we're saying is that since we're not Japanese, we can't offer much insight into the roman porno wave that swept Japan. We can do the when, where, who, and how of it—but not the why. But we like the posters, the films are usually incredibly well shot, and the actresses are generally stunning, so we watch the movies and tell you whether we liked them. You're probably wondering if we watched Jigoku-hen. We did, and it's what we expected—longform bondage and torture, softcore style, with little shown, but plenty implied. While it stars Asô and the amazing Fujimura, we don't recommend it unless you're okay with plenty of tears and pee. Neither of those are our bag, and if they're yours, maybe talk to someone. Below, Fujimura is happy after washing off the stain of having starred in such a mean and pointless film, while Asô calls home from vacation and tells her family she's recovering fine.
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Vintage Pulp Aug 20 2022
HELL OF A WOMAN
She's just a hunka hunka burning love.


Hijinks at a girls school was a standard trope for Japanese filmmakers, so at the sight of the first school uniform in Yumeno Kyûsaku no shôjo jigoku you'll know what to expect. Known in English as Yumeno Kyusaku's Girl Hell, and Raging Hell Fires, this one, which premiered in Japan today in 1977, falls into the sub-category: upstanding-schoolmaster-who's-not-what-he-seems. It's an adaptation of Kyusaku Yumeno's novel Shojo Jigoku, and features Asami Ogawa as a school misfit and Yûko Asuka as a rich girl, who both learn that the principal Masakazu Kuwayama is a rapey old pervert, and decide to take revenge on him. Without getting too deeply into his misdeeds, we can assure you the man deserves to be punished. For that matter, Ogawa's father is a strange bird too. He and the principal know each other better than their rigidly formal attitudes suggest. After a tragedy strikes, the principal becomes convinced he's being haunted thanks to a curse having to do with a chunk of incinerated brain. How did the movie get all the way to brain briquettes? It's better if you don't know in advance. Overall Yumeno Kyûsaku no shôjo jigoku is interesting. Ogawa in particular gives a very game performance. Is the movie recommendable? Perhaps not quite. But there are worse expenditures of ninety minutes.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2022
THE FIRST OF JUN
Sometimes you can't even give it away.


This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Kanjirundesu, known in English as I Am Aroused and I Can Feel It, and it stars the lovely Jun Izumi, making her film debut. She plays a beautiful young virgin who's fearful of sex. Her friend Panko is already sexually active, but Jun—who's learning how to be a seamstress or tailor at a local vocational school, a fact that causes us to assume she's at least eighteen—is strictly hands off. We can sympathize. We were hands off at eighteen too, though most assuredly not by choice.

When Jun catches her brother Chin masturbating to her, she decides to facilitate the relief of his tensions by asking the always eager Panko to have sex with him. From there the movie evolves into a sort of softcore coming-of-age comedy, with the usual crossed signals and sexual failures. The whole thing has a juvenile feel to it, and no wonder—it's based on Daihachi Izumi's youth sleaze novel Jun-chan. If you're looking for the film's western analog, think Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Sex Drive. We mean in terms of mood, not plot. Kanjirundesu has more nudity, lesbian undertones, and far more premature ejaculation.

Does Jun finally find someone to be the first entry on her ledger? Well, it wouldn't be a softcore movie if she didn't. A little face-sitting—someone else's face, not hers—gets her started down the road to pleasure. That may sound weird, but actually the best thing about this movie is that it's from Nikkatsu Studios but doesn't get too crazy. There's some peeing, though. Whaddaya gonna do? If you've read our other write-ups of Nikkatsu's output you know how far beyond the pale those folks could venture, so a little urine is acceptable. Kanjirundesu is dumb but worth a watch. It premiered in Japan today in 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 19 2022
YOGISHA BARE
These sisters do everything together—including men.


This unusual poster was made to promote the Nikkatsu Studios roman porno flick Yogisha no Onna, starring Mari Tanaka, one of hardest working women on Nikkatsu's roster. She made eighteen films from 1971 to ’73, streaking like a comet across the sexploitation firmament. In Yogisha no Onna she stars as an obviously disturbed woman living with her sister Keiko Tsuzuki in a big, Western style house with their invalid father. The sisters have a love-hate relationship. The love: they share baths. The hate: they share a man. The latter occurs after their father finds Tsuzuki what he thinks is a suitable fiancée, jealousy results, and Tanaka decides that what's good for the sis is good for the sibling. Where does it all lead? If you want the answer you'll have to find out for yourself. We'll just say that as a somewhat early film from the roman porno cycle, Yogisha no Onna is neither unbearably weird nor unconscionably misogynistic, though it's not exactly a portrait of normal social adjustment either. It's possible serious fans of the genre will find the movie too tame, but personally, considering where some of the subsequent roman pornos went, tame was just fine with us. Yogisha no Onna premiered in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 4 2022
THE GREATEST OF EASE
You'll really believe a girl boss can fly.


Above: an alternate poster for Document porno: Shin sukeban, which is a roman porno flick from Nikkatsu Studios that in English was called Semi Documentary: Truly High School Girl Boss. It premiered in Japan today in 1973. The poster is worth sharing mainly because it features a different—and more modest—martial arts kick than on the tateken promo we showed you before. What do we mean by more modest? Look here and find out. 

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Femmes Fatales Jun 12 2022
OIL AND WATER
They mix just fine as far as we're concerned.


As summer and the endless possibilities of that time of year approach, a person's thoughts turn naturally to— Oh, screw it. Let's not intellectualize it. It's basically always summer where we live, so who are we bullshitting anyway? We just like nude images. Here's an excellent example featuring one of our favorite actresses, Hitomi Kozue, star of Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, New True Story of a Woman Condemned to Hell, Confessions of a Female Secretary: Juice from the Fruit, and other worthy efforts, and who, like Pam Grier, Christina Lindberg, Reiko Ike, and other stars of obscure ’70s b-movies, we're determined to document in her entirety. This image came from a 1974 issue of Heibon Punch and it's part of a series, the amazing remainder of which we'll show you later. Teaser: they're even slipperier. 

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Vintage Pulp Jun 3 2022
WIGGING OUT
A classic case of accessory before the act.


We were enticed to watch the film Wakazuma ga nureru toki, aka When a Young Wife Gets Wet for two reasons: Izumi. Shima. We consider her to be among the most beautiful of stars from the late 1970s early 1980s, and we had to find out why she was on the above poster sporting a dimestore wig and grease pencil mole. We should have seen it coming, considering she features two distinct looks here, but what you get is Shima as a woman who lives a double life. In one she's a housewife and in the other—as if you couldn't guess—she's a prostitute.

The movie has a plot we suspect only male filmmakers could come up with. Shima suffers a rape before her marriage, though justice of a sort is later applied, and afterward she seems to lead a happily wedded life. But nobody knows that she also haunts the alleys of Yokohama's red light district to repeatedly relive her degradation. Obviously, she needs to keep this second life secret, and when threatened we find that she'll do anything to avoid exposure. We do mean anything.

The movie, which came from Nikkatsu Studios and is part of its roman porno cycle, is more atmospheric than most from the genre. It's quite dark in parts—visually we mean—with a nervous jazz score that brings to mind the 2014 hit Birdman. The nice accompaniment helps, but the plot treads the same old territory, with screenwriter Masayasu Ôebara exploring the madonna-whore complex on behalf of the audience. In the end Wakazuma ga nureru toki is memorable only because it stars the radiant Shima. It premiered in Japan today in 1978.
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Modern Pulp May 17 2022
HER MAJESTY'S DISSERVICE
Of all the different types of queens, I had to be the damn queen of S&M.

Maybe Junko Mabuki wasn't the queen of Nikkatsu Pictures' roman porno cycle, but she was certainly one of its major figures, and oh, the ordeals she went through in her fifteen films. This poster that has her looking like she somehow got stuck inside Batman's mask was made for Dan Oniroku hakui nawa jigoku, known in English as White Uniform in Rope Hell and—unfortunately—All Women Are Whores. We couldn't locate the movie, which caused us to breathe a sigh of relief. But if you want to know what Mabuki was all about, cinematically speaking, the films of hers we have watched include (English titles only) Female Teacher: Rope Hell, Female Beautician Rope Discipline, Secretary Rope Discipline, and Blazing Bondage Lady. Those titles should answer any questions. We also watched her in Hell of Roses, which, while its title seems to suggest a thematic and tonal change from Mabuki's usual fare, is also about ropes. Dan Oniroku hakui nawa jigoku premiered in Japan today in 1980.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2022
THE NAME OF THE LAW
They call her Marii—Daati Marii.


Above is a promotional poster in tatekan size for Sukeban Deka: daati Marii, which premiered in Japan today in 1974 and was known in English as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary. Obviously, the character is based on Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, and the name is phonetically spelled to assist Japanese pronunciation. Way back when we first talked about this flick we were able to watch it free online, but that boat has since sailed over the horizon. Now you'll have to watch it on Amazon Japan, which probably doesn't do you much good unless you speak Japanese. We wish we'd taken a few screenshots from the movie back then, but we were in a hurry that day. It's certainly worth a watch, should the opportunity arise. You can read a bit more about it here. As a bonus, we have some Kozue promo images below. Typically, she made nude photos, and indeed, we've already posted many and have others that are flat-out unbelievable which we'll share later. But today we wanted to show her in casual mode. You see her below, hanging out in Tokyo's Omiya Park.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 19 2022
LUXURY RIDE
Leather seats. Power steering. Custom hood ornament. This car comes absolutely loaded.


Hitomi Kozue's reaction to this Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III is a bit over the top, but we guess she's a real car lover, and flexible too. These photos came from a 1974 issue of Heibon Punch, weird color balance and all. When Kozue wasn't moonlighting as a human hood ornament she starred in such films as Jitsuroku onna kanbetsusho: sei-jigoku, aka True Story of a Woman Condemned: Sex Hell, and Shiroi mesuneko: mahiru no ecstasy, aka White Female Cat: Ecstasy at High Noon. In her normal state—as opposed to getting freaky on a Rolls—she seems to us too elegant for raunchy softcore roman porno flicks, but that's where she made her reputation, appearing in twenty-eight in four years before moving on to parts unknown. We have a lot of material on her in the site, but if you need to be pointed to some nice entries, check here, here, here, here, and here. And believe us, there will be more coming.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 07
1959—Dark Side of Moon Revealed
The Soviet space probe Luna 3 transmits the first photographs of the far side of the moon. The photos generate great interest, and scientists are surprised to see mountainous terrain, very different from the near side, and only two seas, which the Soviets name Mare Moscovrae (Sea of Moscow) and Mare Desiderii (Sea of Desire).
October 06
1966—LSD Declared Illegal in U.S.
LSD, which was originally synthesized by a Swiss doctor and was later secretly used by the CIA on military personnel, prostitutes, the mentally ill, and members of the general public in a project code named MKULTRA, is designated a controlled substance in the United States.
October 05
1945—Hollywood Black Friday
A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators becomes a riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios when strikers and replacement workers clash. The event helps bring about the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, which, among other things, prohibits unions from contributing to political campaigns and requires union leaders to affirm they are not supporters of the Communist Party.
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