Saturday, September 22, 2012

Takigawa Yumi's Punishment and Punch-Up Flicks

Takigawa Yumi made her motion picture debut in February 1974 with the release of the shocking nun-sploitation film School of the Holy Beast (aka Seiju Gakuen/Convent of the Sacred Beast).

Born in Tokyo in 1951, she was married to actor Achiwa Shinsuke from 1984 to 1997, when they divorced. Their daughter, Takigawa Hanako, was born in 1988 and was a gravure model and is currently an actress, appearing mostly on television and in commercials.

Takigawa Yumi in School of the Holy Beast, Toei, 1974
Here is a filmography for Takigawa Yumi.

Unlike many Japanese films with a liberal measure of nudity and SM, School of the Holy Beast, which was directed by Suzuki Norifumi and released by Toei, has had decent distribution in the West. 

Although she appeared nude in her debut film, I'm not sure if she ever stripped (or was stripped) in any subsequent film and the only stills I have been able to find all have her rather more modestly presented.

School of the Holy Beast was a brazenly blasphemous look at the corrupt inner-workings of a sexually sadistic convent which, soon after its release, provoked Christians around the world to go on a bloody rampage of murder and mayhem. I guess that scene of a crucifix being urinated on must have really set them off.

In addition, the director and several of the actors (including Takigawa) were forced to go into hiding for years due to numerous credible death threats.

Oh, wait. None of that happened. Never mind.

But it was brazenly blasphemous. And deliciously sadistic.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the film:
A young woman (Yumi Takigawa) becomes a nun at the Sacred Heart Convent to find out what happened to her mother years earlier. She encounters a lesbian mother superior, lecherous archbishops, and uncovers many dark secrets. The convent also practices brutal discipline and encourages masochistic rituals such as self-flagellation. In one scene, two nuns are forced to strip to the waist and whip each other severely with heavy floggers. Later, Takigawa is tortured and whipped by a group of nuns armed with rose-thorns.
Ms. Takigawa also starred in the 1976 movie New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701, taking over the role made famous by actress Kaji Meiko who, according to this site, had made four of these pictures previously. 

Takigawa Yumi in New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701, Toei, 1976
Ms. Takigawa also appeared in a couple of Sonny Chiba karate pictures in which Chiba recreates the dubious exploits of master self-promoter and founder of Kyokushinkai karate, Oyama Masutatsu; pictures such as Karate Bear Fighter and Karate Bull Fighter (aka Champion of Death) as they are known in the West.

Karate Bear Fighter, Toei, 1977
Karate Bull Fighter, aka Champion of Death, Toei, 1975
Chiba was no Bruce Lee but I bought the DVD of Karate Bull Fighter and it's a pretty damned good movie. I own both these posters as well and if I ever see Karate Bear Fighter around, I'll buy that one, too.

I haven't watched Karate Bull Fighter in a while and didn't know that Ms. Takigawa had appeared in this flick. Now I'm very interested in watching this one again just to see Takigawa.

Now that I think about it, I'll make it a double feature. After watching Chiba chop off the horn of a bull and punch holes through bad guys, I think I'd like to wind down with something a little more soothing, like School of the Holy Beast.

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