The Man Who Gave Akechi Denki His Start
Just when I think I've got a handle on who's who in the Japanese SM world, another name pops up that had been heretofore completely unknown to me. The latest addition to the list of personalities I should have known about, but didn't, is one Mr. Sakurada Denjiro (桜田伝次郎).
Sakurada Denjiro goes back to the 1970s and it would appear that he was one of the first performers to stage live bondage shows in Japan. Not the first. Osada Eikichi tends to be credited with that achievement. However, it comes as no surprise that Sakurada was apparently influenced by Osada's performances and Osada may have assisted Sakurada in getting his own shows started.
Osada Kazumi mentions Sakurada Denjiro in her history of Osada Eikichi.
Born in 1952, Sakurada wasted little time in setting up his live performances at venues around Tokyo upon graduation from Nihon University. His first show dates from the mid-1970s.
In 1974 he founded an underground theater troupe called Gekidan Sekai Gekijo (GSG). They went on to perform all over Japan. These were not SM shows but eventually Sakurada did start his SM shows, possibly with members of GSG.
In 1983, he opened his own theater, Theater Poo (シアターPOO) in Shinjuku. It is still in existence today.
Also in 1983, Sakurada appeared in a video which I have had the good fortune to come across. I think you can see the influence of Osada Eikichi in this video and it has a very Showa look and feel to it. I don't know where this video was shot but I do like Sakurada's torture chamber quite a lot. The video was directed by Raizo Akashi and released by Sun Video.
The videos of the early 1980s can be extremely hard to come by and I'm not sure just how many Sakurada might have directed or appeared in. He retired from public SM activities in 1985 but then made a comeback of sorts and is listed as the director of a number of videos that were produced at least up until 2008.
Sakurada Denjiro was a prominent presence at the funeral of Akechi Denki. He is at the top of the list of dignitaries along with Dan Oniroku.
What was the connection between Sakurada Denjiro and Akechi Denki? Well, Akechi Denki started doing live performances in 1978, some time after Sakurada had already tested the waters. In fact, Akechi Denki first started performing live at events organized by Sakurada and in which Sakurada was performing himself.
This just in: I have it on good authority that Sakurada Denjiro will be performing again live at his own theater on Aug. 3 and that Shima Shikou will also be performing. This promises to be quite interesting as Sakurada is known for his old-style Showa-era motif of kinbaku and torment. Also, this should be the first time the two luminaries have appeared together.
As far as I have been able to determine, information on this event seems to be non-existent on the internet. I don't know what time it starts or the cost. It does appear that Theater Poo opens at 17:00. If I get any additional details, I will update here.
Update: The show begins at 19:30. I still don't know the cost but figure between 5,000 and 10,000 yen.