Pink Dawns, AV Eclipses
Here's a tip: If you want to find cool stuff from Japan, check out Yahoo Auction at Yahoo's Japan site. The fact that it's in Japanese scares off a lot of people. But if you can navigate that particular hurdle, I'm told you can find what you're looking for.
That's how this particular find happened: two long out-of-print vintage VHS tapes of the father of live SM shows in Japan, Osada Eikichi.
These two videos, Orgasm I and II, are from 1983 and are real collectors' items. These videos take us back to the sunset of celluloid and the dawn of videotape.
Osada Eikichi, who passed away in 2001, is amazing to watch. A colleague of mine commented that the location looks almost like a martial arts dojo. There's an old framed photo on the wall (some unknown master, perhaps?) and on another wall, a long scroll of elegant kanji characters.
Classic Osada Eikichi VHS movies: Orgasm I and Orgasm II
I would love to know where this was shot. I guess there are very few people around today who would know the answer to that.
And speaking of martial arts, watching how Osada sensei moves is fascinating. To me, he resembles a cat. When he steps over a steel pipe which forms part of his bondage jungle gym, his upper body doesn't rise an inch. He simply bends his knees and leads with his hips.
He also has this uncanny characteristic of changing his timing without warning. He goes from first gear to fourth in the blink of an eye -- and then back again. You never know what he's going to do next, or at what tempo.
Osada sensei had a trademark of throwing his ropes with a snap of his wrist. He once commented that it was unfortunate that one of his studios was small and made it difficult for him to launch his ropes as he was used to doing.
The first video in this series starts out with model Tanaka Keiko. Before long the main model, Fujii Mami, takes over and she is seen exclusively for the rest of Part I and all of Part II.
An interesting footnote to this unique production is an interview which is conducted with Ms. Fujii at the end. The interviewer is Yoyogi Tadashi who is also credited as the supervising editor. Here is another link concerning Yoyogi which states he was one of the founders of the video company, Athena.
Tadashi was already a veteran of pink films by 1983. It is believed he started his career as a director of pinku eiga in 1963. Two decades before Orgasm, Yoyogi was present at the birth of the pink film phenomenom. And twenty years later, he was a pioneer in the emerging field of adult video, or AV.
Yoyogi played an important role as a director of pink films and also served as producer of films directed by Yamamoto Shinya.
In the late 1970s, Yoyogi made some films for Nikkatsu which had an impact on subsequent movies recorded on videotape.
Newspaper write-up on Osada Eikichi show
There is a book, A History of AV (author 藤木TDC), which goes into some detail concerning Yoyogi's influence on the pink genre and his later success as a director of AV.
Another interesting fact about Orgasm: the assistant director of the videos was none other than Ryuichi Hiroki who, among many other projects, directed the 2007 documentary Bakushi.
FIRST QUEEN OF PINK
Speaking of pink films, it doesn't get rosier than Tatsumi Noriko who, I am informed by Wikipedia, is known as the first Queen of Pink. It appears she gave SM films a wide berth, though, so I won't spend much time on her. But I will mention that she appeared in at least four films with Tani Naomi, the undisputed Queen of SM films.
Two pink films starring Tatsumi Noriko
I recently had the opportunity to view a film called Slave Widow starring Ms. Tatsumi. Tani Naomi co-stars. It came out in 1967, the year both actresses made their debuts.
They really churned these things out. Tani had already made her first film, Special, in 1967 and several more by the time she appeared in Slave Widow.
Future Queen of SM Tani Naomi in Slave Widow, 1967
Despite the title, there is no bondage at all in this movie. The director was Watanabe Mamoru and it was shot in black and white. I'm guessing they must have shot this thing in around two weeks. Even so, it's surprising how good it is. I even had tears in my eyes at the end when Ms. Tatsumi discarded her kimono and shoes and walked into a lake to put an end to her miserable fate. No happy ending here.
KING OF SM
Switching gears dramatically, we fast-forward twenty years to 1987. Guys with cinema experience were now shooting porn on $50,000 Ikegami video cameras. You can tell they had a cinema background because they hadn't all thrown away their tripods yet.
King of SM 快虐 別荘編 -- Joy of Torture, A Story of Second Home (or something close to that), is an early Shima Shikou shot-on-video offering which he both directed and starred in.
His male co-star was Yamamoto Ryuji who, by now, is a veteran of the SM AV scene. I used to see this guy all the time in Cinemagic videos.
The three lovely ladies who round out the cast are Shimada Miki, Sawada Rika and Mami Yuri.
The movie was long enough that it wouldn't fit onto one, 60 minute VHS tape so they stretched it over two. I'm not completely sure but I think this movie may have had a theatrical release. Remember, this was still in the days when it was believed a "film" was supposed to be seen on the big screen. That idea eventually went the way of the dodo.
There is some attempt at a plot but, for the most part, the movie is a vehicle which serves to display Shima's early development as a seme-shi (torment artist). This may have been the first (though certainly not the last) time he dragged scantily clad girls in the snow behind a van.
The writers are credited as Go Ijuin and Atsuhiko Sawaki. For more info on Go Ijuin, go here. This video was produced by U-Production, a company started by Nakamura Genji. Shima worked at U-Production as a seme-shi before going independent and forming Shima Video and eventually Shima Planning.
The distributor was Million.
End Part I. In Part II we will take a look at The Sekkan series and merciless mistress, Mary Aoi. We will then come full circle and explore a video called Oni that came out in 2004 which paired Aoi with Akechi Denki.