History of the Pink Film, a primer

 

And first, a little background…

History of the pink film

Background to the pink film

Poster for the taiyozoku-themed Crazed Fruit (1956), a predecessor to the pink film

In the years since the end of World War II, eroticism had been gradually making its way into Japanese cinema. The first kiss to be seen in Japanese film—discreetly half-hidden by an umbrella—caused a national sensation in 1946.[14] Though throughout the 1940s and early 1950s nudity in Japanese movie theaters, as in most of the world, was a taboo,[15] some films from the mid-50s such as Shintoho‘s female pearl-diver films starring buxom Michiko Maeda, began showing more flesh than would have previously been imaginable in the Japanese cinema.[16] During the same period, the taiyozoku films on the teen-age “Sun Tribe”, such as Kō Nakahira‘s Crazed Fruit (1956), introduced unprecedented sexual frankness into Japanese films.[17]

Foreign films of this time, such as Ingmar Bergman‘s Summer with Monika (1953), Louis Malle‘s Les Amants (1958), and Russ Meyer‘s The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959) introduced female nudity into international cinema, and were imported to Japan without problem.[15] Nevertheless, until the early 1960s, graphic depictions of nudity and sex in Japanese film could only be seen in single-reel “stag films,” made illegally by underground film producers such as those depicted in Imamura‘s film The Pornographers (1966).[18]