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Giichi Nishihara

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Giichi Nishihara (西原 儀一 Nishihara Giichi?, born in 1929) aka Shirō Sekiya (関谷四郎 Sekiya Shirō?) is a Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer and actor[1] best known known for his low-budget and sensationalistic pink films made for his Aoi Eiga studios in the 1960s and 1970s. He has been called both "Japan's sleaziest movie-maker,"[2] and "a cult favorite among devotees of extreme cinema."[3]

Life and career

Early career

Born in 1929,[4] Nishihara worked as a professional boxer during the early post-World War II years.[5] His success in this capacity led to his entry to the film industry as an actor, playing the role of a fighter in director Kōzō Saeki's 1947 Daiei film, Town Of The Iron Fist or Street of Iron Fists (Tekken No Machi).[6][7] Nishihara served as Saeki's Assistant Director in the 1949 film, Morning Star Song (歌の明星?).[6] In the early years of his career he worked as an actor and freelance filmmaker for several studios besides Daiei, including Shochiku, Mainichi Television and NHK.[5][6]

Pink film and Aoi Eiga Studios

The first Japanese film to contain nudity, director Satoru Kobayashi's controversial Flesh Market, was released in 1962. It was shut down by the police and censored before it could be re-released,[8] but the film became became a huge box-office success. Even with the limited distribution it received as an independent production, Flesh Market, which was made for 6-8 million yen, took in over 100 million yen.[9] With the success of this movie, the pink film genre-- known as eroductions at the time-- had been born.[10] In the pink-boom atmosphere of the mid-1960s, many small studios were set up to produce these cheap and profitable softcore pornographic theatrical films. One such studio was Aoi Eiga, founded by Nishihara to produce his own films.[6] Some have claimed the company was a "front" for the Osaka yakuza.[5]

1960s

Nishihara made his directorial debut with Highway of Passion (1965).[6] In 1966, Tamaki Katori, star of Flesh Market, joined Aoi Eiga and quickly appeared in many films scripted and directed by Nishihara. To Aim at... (January, 1967) was a crime drama, in which Katori is the only survivor after she battles with the three men with whom she has committed a major robbery.[11] Weeping Affair (March, 1967) was a melodrama about Katori's relationship with a middle-aged man and his daughter.[12]

Indecent Relationship (May, 1967) had Katori as a girl who is financially supporting her boyfriend by working at a hostess bar. When she finds out that the woman who owns the bar and her boyfriend are having an affair, she seeks revenge on them both.[13][14] The Weissers judge this early work, "More back-alley junk from sleaze-meister Giichi Nishihara."[15]

According to the Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films, the main difference between Seduction of the Flesh (July, 1967) and Nishihara's other "cinematic excesses"[16] is that Katori is raped not once, but twice within the film's 72-minute duration.[17] The story had Katori suffering these indignities while her husband is away, and then committing suicide in shame.[18]

Pink Telephone (August, 1967) was an atypical venture into comedy for Nishihara and Tamaki. The story concerns a man whose goal is to become Japan's number-one drunk.[19] Abnormal Reaction: Ecstasy (November, 1967), was an erotic thriller in which Katori co-starred as the mistress of a man who has faked his death. When the "widow" discovers that her husband is not actually dead, she gets her revenge by arranging to have both her husband and Katori impaled on stakes while in bed.[20][21] Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films calls this a "somewhat restrained early project" for the director, adding, "[t]he violence is fleeting. Even the sex scenes are stilted when compared to Nishihara's later efforts."[22]

Ripped Virgin (1968)[23] had Katori as a high school girl who discovers that the man who raped her is actually her boyfriend. The Weissers judge this film "surprisingly refined" considering that Nishihara is the director.[24] Exploiting the exotic appeal of caucasian actresses, Nishihara co-starred Katori with two foreign actresses in Aoi Eiga's Staircase of Sex (1968).[25]

1970s

Nishihara's main actress, Tamaki Katori, left Aoi Eiga studios in the later 1960s, and then retired in 1972.[9] With her, Nishihara had produced countless films for the studio which were profitable, but were not notably successful. It was not until he teamed up with actress Yuri Izumi in the early 1970s, that he began directing box-office hits.[5] According to some Japanese sources, Nishihara and Izumi are married.[26]

In the later half of the decade Nishihara and Izumi began making films for the major pink film studio Shintōhō. Nishihara's films for this studio include such titles as Please Rape Me Once More (starring Izumi) and Grotesque Perverted Slaughter[27] (both 1976). About the latter film, the Weissers, in their Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films report, "This is probably director Nishihara's best film, but that's like choosing from rat-bite fever, jungle rot, or tick-borne typhus. They're all pretty bad."[28] Robert Firsching of Allmovie agrees with the Weisser's assessment, calling the film "Nishihara's most skillful film, as he concentrates on characterization and suspense far more here than in his usual sick rapefests."[29]

His films of this period are noted for their "twisted plots delivered in an unnerving matter-of-fact style."[30] A typical plot of one of Nishihara's "staggering sleaze-fests"[5] of the 1970s can be found in Abnormal Passion Case: Razor (1977). The heroine of this film, Reiko, is worried about her father because he recently had a near-fatal heart attack while the two of them were making love. Out of concerns that he may have a stroke if their sexual relations continue, she goes to a lawyer for advice. The lawyer suggests that she get married so that her father will have to stop having sex with her. The lawyer then proceeds to rape Reiko. The rape is interrupted by a call from the lawyer's girlfriend. The lawyer then tells Reiko she can leave, as he doesn't need to rape her anymore-- his girlfriend is coming over. Reiko persuades the lawyer to pretend to be her fiancee so that she can convince her father she's really going to be married. The ruse works only too well. The father believes her, and, in shock and grief, dies of a heart attack on the spot. Reiko then kills the lawyer with a butcher knife.[31]

Nishihara retired from the film industry in 1985.[32] In 2002 he published Yakuza Director (やくざ監督 Yakuza Kantoku?), his memoirs which recounted his eventful life and encounters with criminals.[6] In September 2009, the 1960s careers of Nishihara and actress Tamaki Katori-- working together and separately-- were the subject of a retrospective at the Kobe Planet Film Archive.[33] Summarizing Nishihara's career, Allmovie writes, "No one ever accused Nishihara of being the most subtle filmmaker in the world, but at least he manages to keep the tawdry proceedings lively."[31]

Partial filmography

Title[34] Release date Cast Studio Notes
Mad Passion Highway
激情のハイウェー
Gekijō no Haiuee
August 1965 Mayumi Aoi
Isao Matsui
Setsuko Moriya
Aoi Eiga 66 min.
B&W
Nishihara's directorial debut(?)[35]
To Aim At...
狙う
Nerau
January 21, 1967 Aoi Eiga
Weeping Affair
泣き濡れた情事
Nakinureta Joji
March 28, 1967 Aoi Eiga
Indecent Relationship
乱れた関係
Midareta Kankei
May 9, 1967 Tamaki Katori
Koji Satomi
Setsu Shimizu
Aoi Eiga
Seduction of Flesh
aka Temptation of the Flesh
肉体の誘惑
Nikutai No Yūwaku
July 11, 1967 Tamaki Katori
Chiyo Morizō
Noriko Chizuki
Masayoshi Nogami
Yūichi Minato
Joji Ohara
Aoi Eiga 72 min.
Color
Pink Telephone
桃色電話
Momoiro Denwa
August 26, 1967 Aoi Eiga
Abnormal Reaction: Ecstasy
異常な反応 悶絶
Ijo Na Hanno: Monzetsu
November 21, 1967 Tamaki Katori
Mari Azusa
Teruko Amano
Yasushi Matsura
Aoi Eiga
Female Trap
牝罠
Mesuwana
December 1967 Tamaki Katori
Michi Nakahara
Chiyo Morizō
Mari Nagisa
Jirō Kokubu
Aoi Eiga 66 min.
Part color
Staircase of Sex
性の階段
Sei no Kaidan
May, 1968 Tamaki Katori
Edie McNair
Marilyn Weir
Aoi Eiga 71 min.
Part color
Ripped Virgin
引裂かれた処女
Hikisakareta Shojo
August, 1968 Tamaki Katori
Hiroshi Yajima
Aoi Eiga
Betrayal of Affairs
裏切の色事
Uragiri no Irogoto
December, 1968 Aoi Eiga
Sexy Angel
おいろけ天使
Oiroke Tenshi
February, 1969 Tamaki Katori
Kazuko Shirakawa
Setsu Shimizu
Kōhei Tsuzaki
Jōji Ichimura
Kemi Ishiboshi
Aoi Eiga 74 min.
Part color
Ghost Story of Sex
性の怪談
Sei No Kaidan
1972 Maki Kirikawa
Hiroshi Nishihara
Aoi Eiga
The Devil Dwells in a Woman's Valley
女の谷に悪魔が棲む
Onna no Tani ni Akuma ga Sumu
September 1972 Hirimi Naka
Rina Takase
Aki Uehara
Yuri Izumi
Aoi Eiga 70 min.
Part color
Directed as Shirō Sekiya
Grotesque Perverted Slaughter
aka Present-Day Bizarre Sex Crime

現代猟奇性犯罪
Gendai Ryoki Sei Hanzai
August, 1976 Keiko Sugi
Kiyoshi Nakayama
Yuri Izumi
Aoi Eiga
Shintōhō
Abnormal Passion Case: Razor
異常情痴事件:剃刀
Ijojochi Jiken: Kamisori
1977 Yuri Izumi
Jirō Kakubu
Aoi Eiga
Please Rape Me Once More
もう一度襲る!
Mou Ichido Yaru
January, 1979 Yuri Izumi
Maki Kirikawa
Eiji Togawa
Hiroshi Nishihara
Shintōhō

Notes

  1. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  2. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  3. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  4. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Weisser, p.36.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  7. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  8. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  9. 9.0 9.1 {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}
  10. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  11. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  12. Cowie. World Filmography 1967, p.385.
  13. {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}
  14. Cowie. World Filmography 1967, p.383.
  15. Weisser, p.209.
  16. Weisser, p.203
  17. Weisser, p.372.
  18. Cowie. World Filmography 1967, p.391.
  19. Cowie. World Filmography 1967, p.384.
  20. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  21. Cowie. World Filmography 1967, pp.361-362.
  22. Weisser, p.36-37.
  23. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  24. Weisser, p.351.
  25. Sharp, p. 182.
  26. Weisser, p.139.
  27. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  28. Weisser, p.188.
  29. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  30. Weisser, p.181.
  31. 31.0 31.1 {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  32. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  33. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  34. Filmography from {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}, {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}, Giichi Nishihara at the Internet Movie Database, and {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  35. Jasper Sharp names Mad Passion Highway (August 1965) as Nishihara's directorial debut, but Japanese Movie Database lists a July 1965 Nishihara/Aoi Eiga release, Sexy Hell (いろ地獄 Iro Jigoku?)

Sources

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  • {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

|CitationClass=book }} (Nishihara's autobiography)

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External links

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