Wednesday, May 25, 2011

R.I.P - Dan ONIROKU 団 鬼六

16 April 1931 - 6 May 2011
50 years of binding hearts in rope comes to a close.

The notion that post-WWII Japan is a country populated exclusively by barbaric and deviant misogynists is a stereotype we can almost single handedly attribute to this late writer of pulp erotica, ironically, a man said to be of great emotional sensitivity with a painfully vanilla sex life. He was first published under a different pen-name in 1961, and spent the next 50 years sharing his debauched imagination with the Japanese public, getting international celebrity primarily through the cinematic adaptations of his works starting in the 1970s.

His most famous title, the amorphous concept of Shizuko the molested housewife in the many FLOWER AND SNAKE/Hana to Hebi stories, more or less defined the Roman Porno movement of the 1970s. The character was even revived this century by none other than Takashi Ishii - with Naomi Tani and Aya Sugimoto filling in Shizuko's inevitable rope-bras, respectively. I remain deeply disappointed that Takashi Miike never went ahead with his adaptation of Bishounen (Pretty Boy), and still feel that the most satisfying films from Onrioku's canon were Doreizuma (Slave Wife, 1976) and Fascination: Portrait of a Lady (Gensou Fujin Ezu, 1977), and would recommend anyone with a legitimate interest in the erotic deconstruction of humanity brave shoddy VHS prints to see why.

Oniroku's influence on the intelligently darker side of pop-culture will be sorely missed. At least this sad news has brought one good thing to my attention: Seasons of Infidelity, translated into English. Perhaps not the title I would have most preferred to see brought over, but any and all Oniroku available in my native tongue is something to mourn properly with, and I only hope we'll see more in time.


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