Behind the Pink Curtain takes the reader on a wild joy ride deep into the hinterlands of Japanese culture, society and radical politics by way of the weird and wonderful world of the Pink Film and Roman Porno genres.
Behind the Pink Curtain focuses on the art and industry of one of the most notorious sectors of Japanese filmmaking, the erotic Pink Film, or pinku eiga genre, and the closely related Roman Porno films produced by Nikkatsu studios from 1971 to 1988. A phenomenon distinct from the cheaply-produced hardcore Adult Video (AV) market, from the early '60s onwards major Japanese film studios and independent producers alike have kept up a conveyor belt level of output of pornographic features intended purely for cinema release. Still today, just short of 100 such titles are shot on 35mm every year intended for screening in a specialist network of adult cinema across the nation. In recent years, many have found themselves released on DVD in the West or screened at international film festivals, while many of Japan's most noted filmmakers today have cut their teeth in this industry.
Just how close are the links between the arthouse and the grindhouse in Japan? Read about the ins and outs of Japanese censorship from the wartime onwards, and how topless deep sea diving girls came to woo local audiences in the '50s. Learn how a TV nature documentary maker ended up helming nude female Tarzan movies, and how '60s mavericks Koji Wakamatsu and Masao Adachi met up with John and Yoko at Cannes while on the way to the Golan Heights to make a film about Palestinian revolutionaries. How Deep Throat's Harry Reems wound up in Tokyo starring in a zany sex comedy about a penis transplant gone awry, and how one of Japan's most famous literary figures ended up the subject of the country's first gay porno movie. How one of Nikkatsu's leading directors went it alone to make a film about powerboat racing and ended up in the bad books of the yakuza, and how the anti-Bush sex farce Horny Home Tutor: Teacher's Love Juice came to be re-titled as The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai and became one of the most talked-about Japanese films of recent years, playing at over twenty international film festivals.
Based on extensive interviews with many of the leading figures in the field, Behind the Pink Curtain is a colourful and exhaustive trawl through Japan's most vibrant and prolific filmmaking sector.