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July 6, 2010

Nikkatsu Queens

"Pink films" ("pinku eiga" in Japanese), were certain types of Japanese softcore porn movies that were produced from the mid-1960s to the late-1980s. The ones made by Nikkatsu studios from 1971-1988 were known as the second wave of the pink film era. Also dubbed "roman porn" (which is short for "romantic pornography" and has absolutely nothing to do with anything coming from Italy's capital city), a couple of of the more notable early Nikkatsu productions were Apartment Wife: Afternoon Affair, which starred Kazuko Shirakawa and Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market, with Junko Miyashita.

In 1974, Nikkatsu movies such as Flower and Snake (poster above), began centering on bondage and S&M themes and often starred Noami Tani, a young actresses who savored her roles and looked great in rope. Naomi, together with Kazuko and Junko, became known as the first three "Nikkatsu Queens," who made their marks during the heyday of the Nikkatsu roman porn era.

Kazuko Shirakawa, who starred in the first of the "Apartment Wife" series in 1971, is considered to be the original Nikkatsu Queen. After her last roman porn film in 1976, she went on to a fairly successful career in mainstream movies.

Junko Miyashita (here in a still from the 1975 gem, A Woman Called Sada Abe) also went on to do mainstream films and is still currently acting as of this writing.

Credited with bringing Nikkatsu into the S&M genre, Naomi Tani began her brief tenure with the company in 1974 with Flower and Snake and made her final Nikkatsu feature in 1979 with Rope and Skin (above). After her retirement, she went through a few personal difficulties but did release an interesting vocal album entitled Modae No Heya in which she spoke (not sung) over a background of traditional Japanese instruments. Eventually, she became a restaurant owner and later, opened a video store that specializes in the type of classic bondage movies she used to star in.

Apartment Wife: Afternoon Affair, which starred Kazuko Shirakawa, was the first entry in the "Apartment Wife" series. After starring in the first eight films, Kazuko was succeeded in 1975 by Rumi Tama.

1974's Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market which features Junko Miyashita in the starring role, contains some unforgettable scenes and is a must-have for any serious collector of Nikkatsu roman porn.

Poster for 1979's Rope and Skin, which was Naomi Tani's
swan song with Nikkatsu Studios.

video
Theatrical trailer for Rope and Skin featuring Naomi Tani

Listing of Nikkatsu Films from the Roman Porno Era
More Nikkatsu Movie Posters

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