Monday, September 24, 2012

A Man Walks into a Bar, Two Legends Emerge

There's a neat little interview with director Suzuki Norifumi (who apparently has also been credited as Noribumi) on YouTube and it has English subtitles.

Norifumi, according to Wikipedia, is either 78 or 79 years old at the time of this writing. He spent most of his career at Toei and directed a series of popular sukeban (delinquent girl/girl boss) films which starred such actresses as Ike Reiko and Sugimoto Miki.

The interview is only about 14 minutes long but it's completely fascinating to listen to him reminisce about the early days of so-called "pink" filmmaking. I put "pink" in quotes there because my understanding is that the word applies to films that were independently produced. Toei was a major studio.

Oh well, that term "pink" gets thrown around an awful lot and some have even applied it to Nikkatsu's series of roman porno films. Yikes. Sacrilege.

I've always assumed there wouldn't be enough bondage in these types of pictures for my taste so I've given them a pass for the most part. However, it should be noted that Suzuki also directed School of the Holy Beast (see previous post) and that one is certainly worth watching.

Director Suzuki Norifumi in YouTube interview
Scene from YouTube interview with Suzuki Norifumi
Scene from YouTube interview with Suzuki Norifumi
He also directed Ike in the acclaimed Sex and Fury which had Ike nude, bound and tortured. Amazingly, the first picture below shows Mihara Yoko who began her career in 1952 and then appeared nearly naked and bound herself in the 1959 film, Bloody Sword of the 99th Virgin. Mihara also appeared in School of the Holy Beast as an evil nun.

Ike Reiko and Mihara Yoko, Sex and Fury, 1973
Mihara Yoko (right) in The 99th Virgin, 1959
Ike Reiko in Sex and Fury
Ike Reiko in Sex and Fury
In the interview, Suzuki also talks about how he discovered Ike or Sugimoto, or perhaps both. I need to watch the interview again to be sure but I believe he at least said that he had found Ike in a bar somewhere and offered to put her in pictures. What girl could resist?

He also claims that Ike told him that she was only 16 years old when she first appeared nude onscreen.

I'm not sure if this is true or not but I did find a website in Japanese that mentioned this detail. Funny but, to me, Ike always looked older than her stated age.

While we're on the subject of Ike Reiko, I recently saw her in one of Sonny Chiba's martial arts flicks, 1974's Street Fighter's Last Revenge. No, she wasn't tied up in that one but we do catch a few glimpses of her luscious breasts. Suffice it to say Chiba has things well in hand both on the streets and between the sheets.

The Bedeviled, Golden Harvest, 1975
And did you know that Ike appeared in a movie in Hong Kong in 1975? Me neither.

The film's English title is The Bedeviled and it was a horror movie produced by Raymond Chow's Golden Harvest and directed by Lo Wei. Now, just a few years before, Golden Harvest had kicked off Bruce Lee's career with such films as The Big Boss and Fist of Fury. Lo Wei also directed those pictures.

Here's Lo Wei's filmography.

Early Golden Harvest logo
Ike Reiko, The Star of Japan

Ike Reiko as a Chinese girl
Ike Reiko topless
Ike Reiko headless
Not sure if Ike Reiko (?)
They must have really liked Ms. Ike in Hong Kong. There is another connection which I talked about here (scroll down). In the Shaw Bros. film Killer Snakes which came out in 1974, the bad guy thumbs through a magazine of Japanese porn and some of the pictures are of Ike which, as far as I can tell, had first appeared in the Japanese bondage magazine SM Select.

Ike Reiko photos as they appeared in Killer Snakes, Shaw Bros., 1974
I used to think he was perusing an actual issue of SM Select but, upon closer inspection, it appears the magazine is more a compilation of Japanese nudie pics and the Ike photos were just included in the mix.

Whatever the case may be, it seems that Chinese audiences were also charmed by the lovely Ike Reiko. But then, who isn't?

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  1. I have this magazine, also there is Naomi Tani. i still did not saw this movie.
    I saw the interview, just amazing seeing Norifumi talking about this 'forgotten treasures' but i have to say, WTF no body asks hims about what really happen to Miki and Reiko. Where are they now??

  2. Is it SM Select? The one in "Killer Snakes" appears to be a different magazine; a compilation of plain nude photos and Ike's bondage photos.

    This Norifumi interview was MUCH too short! LOL. It must be longer but where is it?

  3. Yes, SM serekuto. I believe its same magazine.